Upper West Side & Morningside Heights

Crime & Mayhem

Store Owner's Son Killed in Robbery Gone Wrong on UWS, Sources Say

June 19, 2015 7:40am | Updated June 19, 2015 10:11am
Store Owner's Son Killed on Upper West Side, Police Say
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UPPER WEST SIDE — A Gambian immigrant working in his father's Upper West Side store was beaten to death Thursday in a robbery gone wrong, sources and friends said.

Emergency workers found Bubacarr Camera, 26, in cardiac arrest at BNC General Merchandise Store at 906 Amsterdam Avenue, near West 104th Street, at 2 p.m. police said. He was rushed to Saint Luke's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, FDNY officals said.

Police said they are looking for three suspects in connection with his death. 

Camera, who lived in Gerard Avenue in the Bronx with his father and two brothers, was his father's eldest son, family friends said.

He had immigrated to New York from the Gambia seven months ago to join his two other brothers and to help out with his father's businesses and support his wife and 1-year-old son who live in Gambia, his younger brother, Ibrahima Camara, said. 

"He loved the job. He was hard working. He'd go early and close late. He had to do it to support his family. That's how he was getting his money. He was doing his best," the distressed 23-year-old brother said. 

"He was a good guy. He was very honest. We have the same blood. He was my big brother," he said, "I don't even know how to talk to my mom. She's crying. She feels sick."
Neighbors said they knew the shopkeeper and his family to be good people with quality merchandise who'd been part of the neighborhood for years.

"He was a very cool, very handsome boy," said Cerajoh Barrie, 36, who is also from Gambia and who works with the deceased man's father at another store he runs in Midtown.

"I don't understand who would do this," said Tyler Monplaisir, 24, who has lived in the neighborhood his whole life.

Samuel Rios, 36, stopped by the shop Friday morning to light three candles in a make-shift memorial.

Rios, who used to live in the neighborhood and now lives in New Jersey, knew Camera and one of his brothers who also helped out at the store. He recalled Camera's devotion to Islam, the brothers' love of soccer and their generosity.

"They were the kind of people who, if you didn't have the money to pay for your T-shirt or something would tell you, 'It's OK, it's OK, you'll pay me next time,'" he said.

Camera was also remembered as a "sweetheart" by Jack Kelly, 48, who grew up in the neighborhood and regularly bought clothes and hats from the shop. 

"He was a quiet, nice guy. I'm so upset," Kelly said, before writing "Rest in Peace" on a carton box left in front of the store. 

Police are searching for three men in connection with Camera's brutal death. 

One suspect was described by officials as wearing sunglasses, a grey hooded-sweatshirt, blue jeans, black sneakers and carrying a black book bag. 

The second suspect was last seen wearing grey pants, a black Reebok sweatshirt and a white hat. The third wore a white shirt, a grey hooded sleeveless sweatshirt with a pattern, black pants and white sneakers, authorities said.  

"If they catch them, that's not going to calm down my heart. My crying will never bring him back. What I want is to see my brother. That's all I need," his brother said. 

Anyone with information in regards to this homicide is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

— With reporting by Nikhita Venugopal