Police have arrested the 18-year-old suspect who shot and killed another teen during a robbery outside of a BJ’s Wholesale Club in Brooklyn, New York.
Dereck Chen, 19, entered an elevator leading to the parking garage of BJ’s Wholesale Club on Shore Parkway in Bath Beach at around 10:15 p.m. on Aug. 4. The suspect, Edino Tzul, reportedly tried to steal Chen’s backpack in the elevator. When the victim tried to fight back, Tzul opened fire, shooting Chen in the face and right shoulder.
“They were heading towards the elevator. All I heard was, ‘Get off my bag,’” store employee Rodney Tele told CBS News. “He was trying to hold onto the guy’s briefcase or whatever he had on him, and all of a sudden, shots rang out — two or three. And I had jumped in the building, because I didn’t want it to be me, so I wound up moving out.” Tzul also reportedly robbed Chen’s 17-year-old friend. He stole his wallet, airpods and speaker, according to police.
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Chen was rushed to the NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, where he was pronounced dead.
Tzul, who fled after the incident, was arrested shortly after he ran into officers. Police recovered a 9mm handgun near the shooting scene. Detectives believe the incident was a random robbery attempt.
The 18-year-old suspect, who had no prior criminal record, was charged with murder, six counts of robbery, four counts of criminal use of a firearm and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
“It’s in our community. It’s a person the same age as my daughter, and we should do something about it,” Bensonhurst resident Elizabeth Chan told CBS News. “No matter what age, you took a person’s life. You need to take responsibility and you need to be punished.”
“BJ’s Wholesale Club joins our Bath Beach community in mourning the loss of the victim and denouncing violence of any kind,” the company wrote in a statement. “The safety and security of our BJ’s members, team members and community is our top priority, and we are working with local authorities and security experts to ensure the safest environment.”