Gang-related beef is what led to the shooting that killed elderly bystander outside NYC deli
Police believe the bystander killed by a stray bullet outside his son’s Upper Manhattan deli this week was the innocent victim of a gang-related beef — and he would have seen his grandchild born had he lived one more day, according to law enforcement sources and family friends.
Reda Girgis — a 66-year-old Egyptian who was visiting the Big Apple to see his son and pregnant daughter-in-law — was shot dead outside the ChopCheese Deli 2 in Washington Heights around 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, according to cops and the store manager.
Girgis had been standing right next to his daughter-in-law when he was struck in the head by a bullet from a drive-by killer, sources said.
The shot was likely intended for a gang rival, sources said. But instead it took out the man who was just one day away from being a new grandfather: His daughter-in-law gave birth Wednesday, according to two friends of the family.
“She saw what happened, and the next day she went to the hospital to give birth to the baby,” one of the friends, who gave his name as Sam, said Thursday.
Investigators believe that the errant round came from a dark gray SUV, possibly an Audi with New Jersey plates, the sources said.
Shocking video obtained by The Post Wednesday shows Girgis on the phone outside the deli — next to his pregnant daughter-in-law — when he tumbles to the ground.
A group of teenagers who had been hanging outside the deli are seen scrambling for safety just moments before Girgis falls to the sidewalk — with his son’s wife frantically running into the store a split-second later.
“I heard [a] noise like firecrackers,” deli manager Gamal Abouelezz told The Post on Wednesday. “All of a sudden I saw the man land on the floor.
“The man who died is the father of the owner,” Abouelezz said. “He came from Egypt to visit him three days ago. He was visiting his son and his pregnant daughter-in-law. He was here to celebrate the baby.”
He said the victim’s son, Haney Girgis, was not in the store at the time.
“He was standing outside on the phone to his son,” Abouelezz said. “His daughter-in-law came and they talked together. She was in the store dropping off groceries. All of a sudden I saw him shot. I saw the man die on [the security camera] TV. I went outside. Everyone was panicked.”
The surveillance footage shows a crowd of bystanders gathering around the dead man’s body, with paramedics arriving minutes later, placing him on a stretcher, and performing chest compressions.
A heart-wrenching second video shot by a local resident shows a man identified by a source as Girgis’ son trying desperately to get to his father’s body on the sidewalk, only to be held back by police officers.
Relative Nady Girgis told The Post on Thursday that Girgis – whom he described as a nice, friendly man – left behind four kids: Two in New York and two in Egypt.
His death has left his son in shambles, Gargis said.
“He saw him lying on the ground,” Gargis said about the son. “He’s not good. We are trying to help him get better. It’s really hard.”
The victim is seen lying in a pool of blood while bystanders look on.
Police said Girgis was taken to Metropolitan Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators were able to find and speak with two men believed to be the intended targets of the gunfire, but they were unable to provide any information, according to the sources.
No arrests have been made.