A bodega worker using an ax to scare off a robber in 2007
After the fatal shooting of a Queens bodega owner during a robbery this past weekend, advocacy group Hispanics Across America recommended that bodega owners be armed in order to protect themselves and their businesses. HAA founder Fernando Mateo said, "We've gotten to the point where we need to provide firearms for these hardworking people."
Mateo has worked hard to get illegal guns off the street—he's organized Toys for Guns exchanges—and told the NY Times, "The issue is with the thugs who have illegal guns. If every illegal gun were taken off the street, we wouldn’t have to arm the businesses." But one Hamilton Heights deli owner admitted to the Post that he thought arming owners was "crazy...I'd defend myself as best I could, but I'm not a killer." (A Harlem shop owner who fatally shot two men and wounded two others who were trying to rob his store felt "awful" after the incident.)
Here are some past instances where bodega owners/workers have defended themselves.
- A Queens bodega owner used a machete to slice off a robber's ear and finger in 2007.
- A Brooklyn bodega owner attacked a teen with a hammer because the teen was fighting his nephew, a store clerk; however, Salah Ahmed was convicted of assault and sentenced to five years in prison.
- A 4' 5" Brookhaven convenience store worker wielded a huge ax when a robber showed off a fake gun—video below: