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Homeless Man Threatens to Kill Grocery Store Worker With Air Gun, NYPD Says

 The Morton Williams at 917 Ninth Avenue, near the corner of West 58th Street.
The Morton Williams at 917 Ninth Avenue, near the corner of West 58th Street.
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DNAinfo/Maya Rajamani

HELL’S KITCHEN — A homeless man with a lengthy rap sheet threatened to shoot a grocery store employee with an air gun after pulling a similar move earlier this year, the NYPD said.

Kendale Nelson, 22, was inside the Morton Williams at 917 Ninth Ave., near the corner of West 58th Street, around 9:05 a.m on July 23 when he pointed what looked like a gun at a worker, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said.

“Why are you looking at me? It’s because I’m black. You aren’t looking at the white people,” Nelson said to the employee, according to the criminal complaint.

“I will shoot you. I will kill you,” Nelson added.

After threatening the employee, Nelson picked up an $8 sandwich from a display case and tried to walk out of the store without paying, police and the DA’s office said.

When a Morton Williams manager tried to stop him, he lifted up his shirt, showed the manager the same weapon tucked in his waistband and walked out of the store with the sandwich, the complaint said.

Nelson was arrested after a Morton Williams employee pointed him out to police not far from the store, the NYPD said.

Arresting officers found the unloaded air gun in Nelson’s waistband and five bags of marijuana in his pants pocket, as well as four full Xanax pills and two partial Xanax pills in another pocket, police and the DA’s office said.

Nelson was charged with one count of robbery, two counts of menacing, one count of petit larceny, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, the complaint said.

He is currently being held at the Manhattan Detention Complex on $31,500 bail and is expected to appear in court on Thursday, city Department of Correction records show.

A manager working at the Morton Williams on Tuesday declined to comment on the incident.

It wasn’t the first time Nelson threatened someone with what appeared to be a gun, records show.

On Feb. 27, he was at a building at the corner of West 87th Street and Amsterdam Avenue when he lifted his shirt and displayed a weapon that looked like a gun to an unknown person.

“You’ll see what’s coming for you — when you get off, I’m going to kill you,” Nelson said to the person, according to the DA’s office.

It was not clear what the circumstances surrounding the incident were. 

When a police officer searched a room at the Goddard Riverside Community Center on West 87th Street, where Nelson was staying at the time, he found two Ziploc bags of cocaine, a grinder and a pipe covered in marijuana residue, a complaint said.

Nelson was charged with menacing, criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana. He was released without bail on March 17.

Less than two months later, on May 11, he was charged with two counts of criminal mischief, two counts of making graffiti and two counts of possession of graffiti instruments for spray-painting a loading dock gate at 20 Lincoln Center and the wall of a building at 150 W. 62nd St., the DA’s office said.

He was released on his own recognizance a day later, records show.

A few weeks later, on June 1, Nelson was charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property after trying to steal a portable speaker from the display shelf at a Century 21 at 1972 Broadway, between West 66th and West 67th streets, a day earlier, a complaint said.

An attorney for Nelson declined Tuesday to comment on his most recent arrest.