NYC fishmonger says melee could have been avoided if victim ‘wasn’t stealing’
A Harlem fishmonger left battered during a fatal melee over shrimp at a Manhattan fish market, said the ugly episode could have been avoided.
“I saw what he was doing. He was stealing. If he wasn’t stealing, nothing would have happened,” injured worker Francisco Morales told The Post of the man accused of trying to rob the store.
Morales, 38, was hurt during Tuesday’s chaos at the Fish Express Fish Mart, when Robert “Bobby” Burrell, and his brother, Malik, allegedly entered the store to steal shrimp and began assaulting him.
Another worker, Junior Hernandez, intervened and ultimately stabbed the Burrell brothers, killing the 25-year-old Malik, authorities said.
Hernandez was initially charged with murder, but the charges were quickly reduced to assault. The move mirrors the case of bodega worker Jose Alba, who fatally stabbed an ex-con attacking him in Hamilton Heights in July and was initially charged with murder.
Bobby Burrell, 29, who was injured when Hernandez came to Morales’ aid, was charged with felony burglary and arraigned in his bed at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan Friday. He was released shortly thereafter, his father told The Post before declining further comment.
“I want him to go to jail. He came in to fight,” Morales said.
Manhattan prosecutors asked that Bobby be freed on his own recognizance when he is released from the hospital.
Hernandez expressed remorse for the fatal encounter.
“I feel bad about the case because that guy has a family, too. I feel okay with my family,i but I still feel down because someone passed away. I am not proud of what I did — 100%. I think about that all the time,” he told The Post.
Hernandez’s wife said, “there is still a dark cloud hanging over our heads,” and she will not rest until her husband is completely cleared.
“I want the rest of the charges dropped. It was self defense and I hope they [the District Attorney’s office] see it that way, too,” Estephanie Reyes said. “No one should have to go through that while they are at work where they should feel safe.”