Family and friends of an 80-year-old deli clerk killed over the cost of a cold beer gathered Thursday for a Brooklyn prayer service honoring the wrongly-targeted victim.
Abdul Yafaee wasn’t even at work inside the East New York deli where he was slain by a gunman irate over another clerk’s refusal to sell him a $2 bottle of beer for $1.50, police sources said.
The dead man was “a good guy, never had problems with nobody,” said Taha Ubeid, who works in a different deli with Yafaee’s brother. “I’ve known him three, four years, and still I don’t believe when they told me that he’s dead.
“I don’t believe it when they told me he got shot. I think, ‘No, not him — probably somebody else.’ I still don’t believe it.”
Mark Thomas, 41, of Brooklyn, was arrested Thursday and charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in the senseless shooting, police said.
More than 100 people turned out for the 10-minute prayer service at the Beit El-Maqdis Islamic Center in Sunset Park. Yafaee’s body was then taken to New Jersey for burial, said mourner Amer Tahhan, 50.
“There were a lot of people … They come to pray, to say ‘I’m sorry,’” said Tahhan. “It’s very sad.”
Yafaee was still at home when the dispute that led to his death broke out inside the 797 Deli on Stanley Ave. and Ashford St. around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
A store patron tried to stiff a younger clerk on a $2 bottle of Corona, offering $1.50 for the brew. When the clerk balked, the two began to argue — with the customer threatening to return before leaving empty-handed.
The infuriated shooter returned three hours later when he stormed in and wildly fired 11 shots, with one slug tearing into Yafaee’s chest.
Medics rushed the victim to Brookdale University Hospital but doctors couldn’t save him.
“(Yafaee) was not involved in the dispute earlier,” a high-ranking police source said Thursday. “He wasn’t even there.”
Yafaee’s murder is the second death at the bodega since January 2014, when a 55-year-old worker had a fatal heart attack during a stick up.
By THOMAS TRACY, CHELSIA ROSE MARCIUS
Source: NY Daily News