MANHATTAN — A Washington Heights man was accidentally shot dead by his bodyguard who came to his aide when a drug deal in a parking garage took an unexpected turn, police sources said.
Jose Nunez, 43, and his 31-year-old friend were in the middle of a marijuana sale inside the garage attached to the residence at 111 Wadsworth Ave., between West 178th and 179th streets, at 10:50 p.m. Sunday when two men they had just sold to tried to rob them, according to the NYPD and law enforcement sources.
They forced Nunez and his friend to the ground and began combing through their pockets before pistol-whipping the 31-year-old, sources said.
But unbeknownst to the robbers, Nunez and his partner had an associate nearby. That person then pulled out a gun and opened fire when he saw the robbery transpire, sources added.
But a bullet not intended for Nunez wound up fatally hitting him in the left side of the head, according to sources.
The robbers and the friend of Nunez's then fled, and the younger victim told a garage attendant to call 911, sources said.
It's unclear whether anything was taken from the victims, according to police.
Nunez, who lived at the address, died at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center Monday morning, police said.
The 31-year-old was taken to the same hospital with life-threatening injuries from the pistol-whipping, the NYPD said.
The bodyguard who opened fire is between 25 and 33 years old and 160 pounds, police said.
He was last seen wearing a two-tone gray hoodie, dark-colored sweatpants and black and gray sneakers.
One of the robbers was described as about 6 feet tall and heavyset with a goatee. The other wore a camouflage shirt, according to police.
The suspects hadn't been arrested as of Tuesday morning, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.