2 fatal shootings in Bronx delis lead to calls for added safety measures

WILLIAMSBRIDGE, Bronx (WABC) -- There are calls to increase protections for bodega workers in New York City after the second fatal shooting of a clerk in just four days, both in the Bronx.

Mohammed Qutaish, 20, was gunned down just before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Deli Grocery on White Plains Road and East 216th Street in Williamsbridge following a dispute with a female customer who was trying to buy individual cigarettes.

That woman went outside to get her boyfriend, and after a brief struggle, police say 28-year-old Adrien Topping opened fire, shooting Qutaish in both the face and back.

Qutaish was taken to Montefiore Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

"He just got engaged," the victim's friend said. "He just told me like a week ago he wanted to go on vacation next month and do all that and see his family."

The pair fled the scene but were quickly taken into custody. Topping is charged with murder and manslaughter, while the woman was questioned and released.

The shooting came on the heels of another murder inside the B & A Gourmet Deli at East 137th and Brook Avenue in Mott Haven Friday evening.

Police say the gunman walked into the store and opened fire without saying a word, killing Yehya Almunster, who recently became a U.S. citizen and was expecting a child with his wife.

Police announced Wednesday that 33-year-old Leonard Nieves was arrested and charged with murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon in connection to Almunster's death.

Detectives said the suspect had an ongoing dispute with the deli worker and felt disrespected.

The two shootings are not believed to be linked.

On Wednesday, the Yemeni American Merchants Association was joined by public officials and Qutiash's father to call for added safety measures, including arming clerks and installing panic buttons.

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