23-year-old worker fatally shot in head inside Bronx tobacco shop

MELROSE, Bronx (WABC) -- A 23-year-old tobacco store employee was fatally shot and a customer wounded inside the business in the Bronx Wednesday night, and police are working to determine if the incident started as an armed robbery.

It happened just after 11 p.m. on East 167th Street, just east of the Grand Concourse, in the Melrose section, where police say a man entered with a ski mask and a gun.

The fatality was identified as 23-year-old Kashka Richards, known as "Kush," while a 32-year-old man was shot in the leg.

"We feel so sorry for his family, we feel sorry for ourselves," shop owner J.J. Ali said. "We lost the great man in this whole hood."

Richards' family and friends are mourning his loss, with his sister telling Eyewitness News that he was a good guy and no troublemaker.

"We've been just crying, haven't slept," Tyuinikia Richards said. "We are just lost, numb right now"

The family says he had been working at the tobacco shop for several years and doing odd jobs in the neighborhood to provide for his 6-year-old daughter.

Mom Carol Richards said she is trying to keep the family together less than 24 hours after finding out her eldest son was gunned down.

"I just wanna know why, that's all I want to know," mom Carol Richards said. "I don't even know how to feel. I just want answers."

Officers were first called to the scene shortly after 11 p.m. for a report of a man who had been shot in the leg.

That man survived, but officers discovered Richards' body in the back of the store. He was dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

"This great man, running for his life, and somebody chased him, started shooting at the store," Ali said. "He was trying to survive. He was running for his life. That's what my worker told me, because my worker was behind the counter."

No arrests have been made and no weapon was recovered, but police say they have a suspect in mind.

"It's just crazy how the bad guys are walking around right now as we speak with a gun, concealed," neighbor Sidney Flores said. "And now that winter's here, you don't know who's carrying a gun with these big coats."

Investigators are no strangers to this block, telling Eyewitness News that police have been called to this same area for gang activity in the past.

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