NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An employee of a Brooklyn electronics store was shot and killed while in the middle of his workday Monday afternoon.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, the victim was a 32-year-old married father of a young baby. His friends had been coming to the scene all afternoon.
Mohammad Bilal was shot in the chest inside the New Attitude electronics store, at 401 New Lots Ave. in East New York, during a robbery, police said.
“Really nice guy, and they just ran in there and shot him,” said Ron Rogers, a friend of the victim’s. “Nobody knows why if there was an argument — probably was an argument prior to that or some kind of altercation prior — but the guy just walked in there and shot him.”
Rogers said he had known Bilal for the past few months, and was shocked and troubled by his seemingly random murder. He said Bilal was working inside the electronics store, where he fixes computers and cellphones, when a man ran in with a gun and shot him.
“A guy with a bike — he had on all black,” Rogers said. “He put his bike right here up against the fence right here. My understanding is that he went in and shot the guy, ran out and came for his bike, and took off.”
Police arrived at the scene at 1:30 p.m.
Other employees were inside the store at the time. A co-worker described the incident in which the gunman burst through the store and fired a shot.
“I was in the corner next to the computers when it happened,” said co-worker Mister Pratt. “I heard the sound, I saw the smoke in the air and I responded. I called 911 and I went to resuscitate him.”
He said he did not see the suspect beyond his black hood as he exited the door.
Employees inside this store said there are numerous surveillance cameras inside and out. They were hoping Monday night that once police review the video, they will be able to catch the suspect.
“You know a picture tells 1,000 words? So we got those 1,000 words,” Pratt said. “Anybody who takes someone’s life, they need to be caught.”
Pratt told police the shooting may have resulted from a dispute over a cellphone.
The victim, Bilal, had just moved to the U.S. from Pakistan a few months ago to provide a better life for the wife and infant child he left behind, friends said.
“I feel terribly, I’m feeling about this incident. I’m really shocked,” said another friend, Mohammad Usman. “A young man lost his life. He left home probably happy coming to work at a store, and look what happened to him. It’s a big tragedy.”
On Monday night, Bilal’s cousins were trying to comprehend why he was targeted by the gunman in broad daylight.
“He has a 2-month-old baby — a baby boy that he sees only on Skype and he never met,” said cousin Jabeen Ahmed. “It’s just heartbreaking.”
Ahmed could not understand what motivated the gunman.
“In just a couple of moments, they took his life. They just shot him, like one shot, right to his heart and that’s it, he’s gone,” she said. “I’m left asking how? How could somebody just do that? How could they just take their life like that?”
Now Bilal will never meet his infant son at all.
“He was such a gentle person that his mother and his father are going to be heartbroken back home,” Ahmed said. “I’m thinking about his family back home; his wife. His first anniversary is going to be next week.”
While early reports suggested the gunman was robbing the store, the motive for the shooting remained unclear Monday evening. Police continued to investigate Monday night.
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