A hip-hop record executive who converted to Orthodox Judaism was fatally shot during a liquor store robbery in Midwood last night. 34-year-old Yosef Robinson, originally from Jamaica, was shot in the chest and arm at the Kosher wine shop MB Vineyards in Flatbush when he tried to intervene and stop the robbery, which occurred at about 9:30 p.m., CBS 2 reports. Robinson worked as a clerk at the store, and was shot trying to stop the gunman from stealing his girlfriend's bracelet.
"We spoke briefly, you know, and he went inside the store to continue his duties," a friend tells NY1. "I went to Target to get a few things and came back to this." Another local resident says, "He was of a Jamaican background and he became Jewish. He was very well known in the neighborhood since I guess he had that mixture of the background. He was a very friendly person. Wherever you went, I guess, he spoke, you know, to everyone as a friend." And Rabbi Ezra Max tells the Post, "He was a good guy. Rock solid."
Robinson planned to release a book in December about his spiritual journey, called Jamaican Hip Hopper Turned Orthodox Jew, and his website bio says, "After years of illegal street activities, run-ins with the law, and a short-lived career in the music industry, Yoseph Robinson is facing the most complex transition of his life as a black man embracing Judaism." CBS 2 reports that after last night's shooting, over 100 people from the Orthodox and Hasidic neighborhood gathered outside the liquor store to pay their respects. Police have made no arrests.