Manhattan DA Charges Bodega Worker with Second-Degree Murder

(CNS News) – After stabbing a man in what appeared to be an act of self-defense, bodega worker Jose Alba finds himself facing murder charges from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office.

Jose Alba, 61, was arrested and charged with both second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon on July 1 in Manhattan, according to the police report obtained by CNS News. The report identifies the victim as 37-year-old Austin Simon.

The NYPD report reads:

“On Friday, July 1, 2022 at approximately 2307 hours, police responded to a 911 call of an assault in progress inside of 3422 Broadway, within the confines of the 30 Precinct. Upon arrival, officers observed a 35-year-old male with approximately two stab wounds to the chest, and one stab wound to the neck. EMS responded and transported the aided male to NYC Health and Hospitals/Harlem where he was pronounced deceased. A knife was recovered and a 61-year-old male was taken into custody on scene. Charges are pending and the investigation remains ongoing. The identification of the deceased is pending family notification.”

The Office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg provided CNS News with the following complaint on which Jose Alba was arraigned:


“I am informed by an individual known to the District Attorney’s Office (Informant) of the following:

“On July 1, 2022, at approximately 11:00 PM, Informant was with her 10-year-old daughter in the convenience store at the above location (3422 Broadway New York, NY). Informant attempted to purchase snack items for her daughter using an electronic benefits card, but the transaction was declined. Informant got into a verbal dispute with the defendant, who was the clerk at the counter of the store. Informant observed the defendant reach over the counter, grab her daughter’s hand, and seize the item from her daughter’s hand after the transaction was declined. Informant then left the store and informed her boyfriend, Austin Simon, of the clerk’s actions, and returned to the store with Mr. Simon, who went behind the counter of the store to confront the clerk.

“I reviewed surveillance video from the store depicting the following:

“At approximately 11:05 PM, Mr. Simon entered the area behind the counter. Mr. Simon was carrying a small white towel in his left hand and his right hand was empty. Mr. Simon pushed the defendant once and spoke to him while the defendant sat in a chair behind the counter. Mr. Simon then put the towel in his pocket and attempted to steer the defendant out of the area behind the counter, but the defendant picked up a kitchen knife that was stashed behind the counter and stabbed Mr. Simon in the neck and chest at least five times. Informant attempted to pull the defendant away from Mr. Simon and held the defendant’s right arm but the defendant continued to stab Mr. Simon. Informant then took a knife from her purse and stabbed the defendant’s arm. Mr. Simon fell to the ground, face-down and bleeding.

“I am informed by Dr. Hercules of Harlem Hospital that Mr. Simon was pronounced dead on July 1, 2022 at approximately 11:51 PM of stab wounds to his neck and torso.

“The defendant stated to me, in substance, ‘He wanted me to come apologize to the girl. I took the knife we use to open boxes and I stabbed him.'”

The surveillance footage of the altercation can be seen here:

Unable to post the bail set at $250,000, the father of three currently awaits arraignment at Rikers Island jail. Although Alba has no criminal history, DA Bragg’s Office pushed for a $500,000 bail.

Radhames Rodriguez, president of United Bodegas of America, vowed to support Alba, whom he says, “doesn’t deserve to be in jail.”

Members of Alba’s family defended the bodega employee’s actions, deeming it to be a just act of self-defense.

“It was either him or the guy at the moment […] he had to defend himself,” Alba’s daughter Yulissa told the New York Post on Wednesday.

Alba is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who came to the United States 30 years ago, and became a U.S. citizen 16 years later.

Austin Simon was out on parole during the confrontation, and had been arrested eight times prior to his death for crimes such as assault and robbery.

Simon’s girlfriend, who currently faces zero charges, told the New York Post she was “not ok” after losing her boyfriend in the altercation.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams expressed his support for Alba this Thursday, withholding any criticisms of his District Attorney’s Office:

“My heart goes out for this hard-working, honest New Yorker that was doing his job in his place of business […] The DA has a non-mandate, where we cannot dictate or mandate how he determines how he’s going to prosecute crimes. That is up to the district attorney, and I’m not going to second-guess the district attorney for his actions.”

Former mayoral candidate and founder of the Guardian Angels Curtis Sliwa tweeted his frustration with the DA’s charges:

“Figures. The Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg would throw the book at the elderly store owner defending himself behind the counter where he was attacked. If instead the young man had killed the store owner Bragg would probably have sent him to a diversion program.”

Sliwa also expressed his support for Alba with the following Tweet:

“I and the Guardian Angels will be in the court tomorrow to make sure that this innocent man is cut loose. In a city where Alvin Bragg, the #NYC DA cuts loose criminals every day, it’s time that we stand for the victims who fight back.”

According to New York Penal Law Section 35.20 titled “Justification; use of physical force in defense of premises and in defense of a person in the course of burglary,”

“A person in possession or control of, or licensed or privileged to be in, a dwelling or an occupied building, who reasonably believes that another person is committing or attempting to commit a burglary of such dwelling or building, may use deadly physical force upon such other person when he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission of such burglary.”

A GoFundMe page set up for Alba had raised $20,000 before it was removed Wednesday night with no explanation given, per a Daily Mail report.

Alvin Bragg’s DA campaign received a $1,000,000 donation from billionaire philanthropist George Soros through a political action committee called “Color of Change.”

Bragg is one of two dozen Soros-linked district attorneys that have been elected around the country since 2015, all of whom share similar soft-on-crime approaches to their positions.


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