Politicians and local groups on Wednesday offered a total of $5,000 in rewards for information leading to the arrest of the deli customer who fatally stabbed an East Harlem worker during a heated dispute.
During a press conference outside the store, Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams, Councilwoman Diana Ayala and Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez — both as Democrats representing East Harlem — as well as the Yemeni American Merchants Association and United Bodega of America each offered $1,000 for leads that help cops nab the perpetrator.
“As we mourn the death of an innocent person who is the victim of this dispute that is so petty that is really destroying the entire family and our hearts go out to them, to the family member. And we should not need an incentive to have those who know the culprit to come in, but I do want to incentivize that by offering $1,000 of my own personal money to catch the person who is responsible for this,” said Adams, the Brooklyn borough president.
“As long as that knife is on the street, there’s another victim waiting to be victimized.”
Also at the media event Wednesday afternoon at the scene of the crime was Adams’ Republican opponent, Curtis Sliwa, and a group of Guardian Angels members. Before the announcement of the reward, which came hours ahead of the first of two mayoral general election debates, Adams snubbed Sliwa when his rival reached out to shake his hand.
Sliwa said the rebuffing was “uncalled for.”
“I will deal with Eric Adam’s at the debate. I put my hand out in friendship when he came up initially and he dissed me and dismissed me. I’m going to make sure he shakes my hand when that debate first starts,” he fumed. “That was uncalled for. I was here for the same reason he was here. Why would you just pass me by, look at my hand and just act like I’m a person of no consequence?”
“I’m the guy who can prevent you from being mayor,” the Guardian Angels founder went on. “I put my hand out and you leave me hanging. You don’t do that in the street, Eric! You don’t do that.”
The pre-debate showdown came after about 11:35 p.m. Tuesday a 34-year-old employee was involved in an altercation with a male customer at the corner store of 2nd Avenue near East 102nd Street, police said.
The dispute continued outside the shop — where the patron stabbed him in the torso with an unknown object, cops said. The assailant ran off, heading east on East 102nd Street.
Police found the victim outside the store with a stab wound to his torso. He was rushed to New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.