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Caught on Tape: Teen Shot to Death Inside Inwood Bodega

By Ben Fractenberg | May 6, 2010 9:44am | Updated on May 6, 2010 7:21pm

By Jennifer Glickel and Ben Fractenberg

DNAinfo Staff

INWOOD — A teenager was shot to death inside a bodega on 206th Street after a run-in with four men Wednesday night that was caught on surveillance video.

The body of Elias Peguero, 18, of the Bronx, was found at 3853 10th Ave. at the corner of 206th Street around 11 p.m., police said.

The surveillance video showed four men follow Peguero into La Plaza Grocery, with one brandishing a silver handgun.

The men then grabbed the victim, who was wearing a dark T-shirt and carrying a cell phone, and pulled him toward the rear of the store, where a struggle ensued off camera.

Peguero momentarily broke free from his attackers — one wearing a Yankees cap and another wearing a striped shirt and Cincinnati Reds hat — and could be seen trying to fend them off with a broomstick.

The video did not show the fatal gunshot, but store owner Arafat Saleh described seeing the teen killed from behind his counter.

"It was like 'Pow!', real loud," Saleh told the Daily News. "One shot, that was it."

The attackers started yelling at Peguero, "'Why you tryin' to play us like that, huh?'" Saleh told the paper. "Then they went after the kid."

The store's other owner, Ali Mujahd, 26, said he did not hear the shots, but he saw activity on the surveillance cameras, and called the police.

"I heard shelves being knocked down and items falling off so I immediately looked at the security cameras to see what was going on. When I saw the cameras I called the cops,” Mujahd said in an interview Thursday.

He said he did not see the murder itself on the camera.

“I never thought anything like this would happen in my store," Mujahd said, though he added that he wasn't too surprised, because similar incidents have happened in the neighborhood before.

That sentiment was shared by several people in the neighborhood who heard about the shooting on Thursday.

"The teenagers in the neighborhood should watch who they hang out with. Bad stuff happens here all the time," said Steven Travieso, 20, who grew up in Inwood. "You can’t really get away from it."

Neighborhood resident Pedro Adams, 46, agreed that people in the community are used to violent crime.

“The kids in the area have no place to play so they all hang out on street corners. That leads to violence eventually and that’s why things like this happen around here a lot,” Adams said.

Alexandra Cerda, 23, who lives around the block, said the incident made her feel "really unsafe."

"I’m definitely not going to come to this store anymore because I have a five-year-old and generally bring him with me," Cerda said.

No arrests have been made and police currently do not have any suspects in the incident, the NYPD said. An investigation is ongoing.

Crime scene detective looks for fingerprints on the bodega's front door.
Crime scene detective looks for fingerprints on the bodega's front door.
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DNAinfo/Jennifer Glickel