At a press conference yesterday, the family of the bodega clerk shot and killed by a police officer during a botched robbery last week asked the Bronx DA's office for a grand jury investigation into Reynaldo Cuevas' death. "We believe he was murdered," said Fernando Mateo, the Cuevas' family spokesman. The Bronx DA, Robert Johnson, told the Times that he made "no commitments" except that he would conduct an investigation independent of the NYPD's.
After watching the surveillance video of the encounter provided by police, Mateo said the Cuevas family believed that as he fled the bodega that was being held up by three men with a gun, Reynaldo "brushed the officer, fell to the ground, and we believe he was shot when he was on the ground." Mateo said the family estimated that Cuevas weighed around 125 pounds.
In a press conference on Friday, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly referred to the shooting as an "accidental discharge," and expressed his condolences to the family while pledging a thorough investigation of the shooting, per departmental policy. The officer who fired the bullet, Ramysh Bangali, is a seven-year veteran who works in the Housing Bureau and has been placed on administrative leave following the shooting.
Cuevas' mother, Ana Cuevas, was scheduled to speak at the press conference but fainted. Attorney Sanford Rubenstein, who is representing the family, asked rhetorically, "How do you accidentally pull a trigger?"