UPDATE: The suspect in this case, who was charged with shooting at police officers in 2021, has since been arrested and charged in this homicide. He was also arrested in connection to a homicide that occurred on 4/8/23.
Just before 8 pm on Easter Sunday, a 36-year-old man was killed at a Lenox Avenue smoke shop in Harlem. CCTV footage of the incident showed the two men appearing to have a conversation, and as the victim turned to walk away the gunman shot him in the back of the head, as other customers flee.
As the shooter walked by the victim on the floor, he shot him a second time, and eventually searched through the victim's pockets. According to a report from the Daily Mail, the man was pronounced dead at 9:26 pm. Police said they were still looking for a "black man wearing black pants, an FDNY EMS jacket with lettering on the back. A black hat and gray sneakers."
They are asking anyone with information about the shooting to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), by visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, the mobile app, or by texting 274637 (CRIMES) and entering TIP577.
This incident comes on the heels of another armed robbery in March at Plug Smoke Shop, in Queens. As reported by CBS, a 20-year-old employee, Daryus Clark, was shot dead. An employee at a nearby store said "Ever since these smoke shops... it's been crazy because a lot of smoke shops get robbed ... Different people from the neighborhood that I've never seen before."
Police chief John Chell said there has been a 10 percent jump in robberies of stores that advertise "paraphernalia," at a New York City Council hearing on public safety back in March. The report from the Daily Mail also noted that this is a continuation of an upward trend set in 2022 where there was a 138 percent increase in violent thefts.
New York City as a whole has seen an increase in violent crime in recent years. In December it was reported that felony assaults were up 3 percent, robberies 3.5 percent, and car thefts 9.4 percent.
At the time New York Mayor Eric Adams said "Reducing crime in the city was never going to happen overnight, but thanks to the NYPD's efforts, major crimes were down in November and shootings continue to see double-digit decreases." While gun arrests for 2022 as a whole were up 4 percent.
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