NEW YORK – A customer was fatally shot Thursday night at BJ’s Wholesale Club in Brooklyn.
Investigators believe the 19-year-old was the victim of a robbery gone wrong. It happened just after 10 p.m. inside an elevator to the store’s parking lot on Shore Parkway in Bath Beach.
Police say the suspect tried to steal 19-year-old Derek Chen’s backpack, then pulled out a gun and shot him in the face as he fought back.
CBS2’s Elijah Westbrook spoke with an employee who was working when this all happened.
“They were heading for the elevator. All I heard was ‘Drop my bag’,” Rodney Tele told Westbrook. “He was trying to hold the guy’s briefcase or whatever he had on him, and all of a sudden there were shots – two or three. And I jumped into the building, because I didn’t want it to be me. , so I ended up moving.”
Detectives said the 18-year-old shooter fled on foot, but as he exited the garage he encountered officers and was quickly arrested.
Chen was taken to NYU Langone Hospital in Brooklyn, where he died. Police believe he was the victim of a random robbery attempt and did not know his attacker.
“We go to this BJ all the time, which is why I say it’s very upsetting,” Bensonhurst resident Elizabeth Chan said.
Not only does Chan go to this store, but he lives down the street from where the victim lived. She told Westbrook she didn’t know the young man, but her heart breaks for his family and those who knew him.
“It’s in our community. He’s a person the same age as my daughter, and we should do something about it,” she said. “No matter how old you are, you have taken a person’s life. You have to take responsibility and you have to be punished.”
The store reopened on Friday and the company issued a statement calling the shooting a “terrible tragedy”.
“BJ’s Wholesale Club joins our Bath Beach community in mourning the loss of victim and speaking out against violence of any kind. The safety and security of our BJ members, team members and the community is our top priority, and we are working with local authorities and security experts to ensure the safest environment,” the statement continued. .
Elijah Westbrook is an Emmy Award-winning journalist. He joined CBS2 News and CBS News New York in January 2022.
. Derek Chen years old killed by bullet in a attempt theft BJs Wholesale Club Brooklyn