BATH BEACH, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A 19-year-old Brooklyn man was fatally shot during an attempted robbery of his backpack in a BJ's parking garage in Bath Beach.
The victim and the suspect got into an elevator on the third floor of the Shore Parkway parking garage just before 10:15 p.m. Thursday.
The 18-year-old suspect attempted to rob the victim of his backpack in a struggle that spilled out onto the first floor of the parking garage.
"All I heard was, 'Get off my bag!'" said store employee Rodney Tele. "He was trying to hold on to the guy's brief - or whatever he had on him - and then shots rang out."
The suspect opened fire, hitting 19-year-old Dereck Chen in the face and shoulder.
The gunman fled on foot, but as he made his way out of the parking garage, he ran right into responding police officers.
The gun was recovered near the shooting scene. Charges against the suspect are pending .
Chen was pronounced dead at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn.
Detectives believe he was the victim of a random robbery attempt, there is no indication that he knew the suspect.
Chen was a student at Kingsboro Community College and on Friday his crew of friends said they felt empty, incomplete and utterly broken.
Chen's family didn't say much to Eyewitness News, only that they needed time to process what had happened.
"Why? There's no reason for that to happen," said area resident and BJ's member Dianne Defontes. "People are so desperate that they have to rob another teenager for a backpack. It's ridiculous."
BJ's issued a statement saying:
"BJ's Wholesale Club joins our Bath Beach community in mourning the loss of the victim and denouncing violence of any kind. The safety and security of our BJ's members, team members and community is our top priority, and we are working with local authorities and security experts to ensure the safest environment."
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News