By Zach Gewelb
Two suspects who were allegedly part of a four-man team that attempted to rob an Astoria bodega and then shot the store owner’s brother as he tried to pursue them face multiple charges, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
Bronx residents Hannibal Ali, 55, and Luis Zayas, 25, were arraigned in Queens Criminal Court last week for arraignment on charges of robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and other crimes.
On Nov. 17 at approximately 8:20 p.m., Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, Ali and two unidentified suspects who wore masks and authentic-looking police shields around their necks walked into Bonoful Grocery on 36th Avenue in Astoria.
According to the charges, one of the masked men grabbed a bag with cash from behind the store’s counter. Additionally, the individual opened the cash register and took the cash from inside.
The three men then exited the store and rushed toward a red van that was waiting outside, with Zayas allegedly behind the wheel, prosecutors noted.
The 18-year-old brother of the store’s owner who was inside the bodega at the time of the robbery chased after the men as they fled to the van, according to the complaint. The teen was then shot in the left leg and the van left the scene.
The Daily News reported that the wounded man was taken to Elmhurst Hospital and was in stable condition.
“A young man quashed down any fear to pursue the gun-toting robbers into the night. For that, he is a hero,” Brown said. “The 18-year-old was shot in the leg and will thankfully survive the injury. Two of the four suspects have now been apprehended and will answer for this brazen robbery. This kind of violence and thievery is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Ali was arraigned Nov. 29 before Queens Criminal Court Judge Toni Cimino, who set bail at $100,000. Zayas was arraigned Nov. 27 before Judge Cimino, who set bail for $25,000 bond or $10,000 cash.
Both were charged with first- and second-degree robbery and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in two separate complaints. Judge Cimino ordered both defendants to return to court Dec. 12. If convicted, the defendants face up to 25 years in prison.
The investigation into the robbery and shooting is ongoing, and additional charges are likely, according to Brown.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe