Man Shoots Queens Deli Owner Dead in Front of Off Duty Police Officer

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QUEENS, NY – Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced today that Steven Cohen, 63, has been charged with murder and other crimes for the Monday evening shooting that claimed the life of a 26-year-old man inside a Queens deli.

District Attorney Katz said, “The incident started with a dispute and ended with the accused allegedly taking of the life of a 26-year-old man. We need to thank the off-duty police officer for his bravery and swift action, tackling and disarming the defendant, assuring that no other lives were lost. The defendant will be held accountable.” Cohen, who has no known address, is being held pending arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of murder in the second degree, attempted murder in the second degree and 2 counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. If convicted, Cohen faces up 25 years-to-life in prison.

According to the charges, said DA Katz, on Monday, October 26, 2020, at approximately 6:15 p.m. inside the Cross Bay Express Deli, at 137-02 Cross Bay Boulevard, the defendant became engaged in a verbal dispute with the victim, Tarwala Mahmadkhurshid, employee at the store.

The defendant was asked to leave the deli and shortly after allegedly returned with a Colt revolver, fired multiple times and struck the 26-year-old once in the abdomen. The defendant then turned to another employee and allegedly fired again, but missed his target. The defendant was disarmed and immediately apprehended by a patron of the store, a police officer who was off duty at the time. Mr. Mahmadkhurshid was transported to a local Queens hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Assistant District Attorneys Adarna DeFrietas, Emily Collins and Joseph Grasso of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau is prosecuting the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Brad Leventhal, Bureau Chief, Peter J. McCormack III, Senior Deputy Bureau Chief, John W. Kosinski and Kenneth M. Appelbaum, Deputy Bureau Chiefs, and under the overall supervision of Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Daniel A. Saunders.

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