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Memorial Service For Bodega Clerk Slain By Cops Set for Tuesday

By  Elizabeth Hagen and Aidan Gardiner | September 10, 2012 7:34pm 

MORRISANIA — Friends and family are expected to gather and grieve Tuesday at a memorial service for bodega worker Reynaldo Cuevas, who was shot and killed early Friday by police as he escaped an armed roberty in the Bronx store.

The spot where was he was shot has been filled with candles and two Dominican flags scrawled with notes for a makeshift memorial, but a formal remembrance service for the 20-year-old will be held at the Ortiz Funeral Home, 4425 Broadway in Manhattan, near W. 190th Street, at 3 p.m.

Four days after the shooting, well-wishers continued to stream past Aneurys Deli Grocery on Monday, where Cuevas was killed just outside his uncle's Franklin Avenue shop.

"We feel destroyed. Even stepping inside this store is hard," Giselle Guzman, 15, a family friend, said. "The last time I saw him he was right here. He's going to be missed."

Angel Garcia, 15, a friend of Cuevas’s, said he felt "weird" coming to the store.

“He would always be standing right there for somebody to steal the chips,” said Garcia, pointing to store’s entryway. “Like, ‘Go ahead, just try to steal some chips.’”

“You didn’t even have to steal the chips though,” another friend said. “He gave them to you.”

Joel Cuevas, 26, one of the victim's older brothers, arrived at the store Sunday at 6 p.m. The group of friends that gathered for an impromptu vigil every night grew silent, and a car stereo was shut off as he approached. He embraced several friends who approached him, and cried into one man's shoulder.

Then Cuevas shuffled slowly towards a small wooden altar in front of the store, touched it briefly, then leaned against a nearby telephone booth and sobbed into his arm.

Soon, relatives from inside the deli came out, and brought the wailing man inside.

Reynaldo Cuevas died early Friday morning when he collided with a police officer who accidentally shot and killed him, police officials said.

He had just concluded a night shift at the bodega where he worked at 2 a.m., when three armed robbers burst in, pushing him and his manager to the floor, police said. When officers arrived, the robbers panicked and fled.

Cuevas also bolted, leading to the fatal accident, police said.

On Sunday, Cuevas’s family, including his brother Joel, met with the Bronx’s district attorney who pledged to investigate the incident.

“We’re taking the matter extremely seriously,” said Steven Reed, a spokesman for the district attorney. “It is subject to a thorough investigation into the all circumstances of his death.”