15-year-old shot by store clerk after trying to rob Upper East Side smoke shop: police sources

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, December 7, 2023
Teen shot after trying to rob Manhattan smoke shop: police sources
Sonia Rincon has the latest on the Upper East Side shooting.

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A teen is recovering after being shot while attempting to rob a smoke shop on the Upper East Side of Manhattan Wednesday night, according to police sources.

The NYPD responded to reports of a shooting around 6 p.m. inside a smoke shop near E. 61th Street and Third Avenue.

Police sources say a 15-year-old boy attempted to rob the shop, and that's when the store clerk pulled out a gun and shot the teen, who suffered a graze wound to his leg.

The store clerk then locked up the shop and fled from the scene.

NYPD officers had to break the lock to get inside, since no one was letting them in.

There was a shoe, and a shell casing on the floor, and once they got the door open, they entered in tactical gear not knowing if anyone was still inside, hiding.

Once they searched, and found no one, they scanned the store's surveillance video for clues.

All of this unfolded about half an hour after the initial 911 call for a teenager with a gunshot wound to his leg or foot a block and a half south.

"I saw a group of men in the corner by the movie theater and one of them was on the floor bleeding, and asking for help," neighbor Michael Rizzi said.

The victim was taken to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he is expected to survive.

The neighbor didn't realize that the boy was shot or that it happened inside the smoke shop in the same building where he lives. He stepped out to check out his Christmas tree in the window, and saw the police going through the crime scene, in the smoke shop.

"I don't really go in there. But we haven't had any issues. I don't know if it's legal or illegal," Rizzi said.

Eventually at least three men responsible for the store showed up and spoke with the police on the scene.

Marijuana shops like the one involved in Wednesday's shooting, have been the targets of robberies all over the city, sometimes violent ones. Neighbors say it's alarming to see so many cropping up in places you wouldn't expect them, like a couple blocks from Bloomingdales.

"Smoke shops. That's what's making money, that's who can pay the rent here. Nobody else can pay the rent," said Edwin Irrizary who attends church nearby.

The shop does not appear to be a licensed marijuana dispensary. It doesn't have a verification tool on display and it's not on any list of legal ones.

No arrests have been made, as the investigation remains ongoing.


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