'I don’t want a problem, papa': NYC bodega clerk Jose Alba tried to AVOID confrontation that led to stabbing
The incident set off a public outcry, with most arguing Jose Alba stabbed Austin Simon in self-defense
Warning: Content may be distressing, viewers discretion advised
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK: A Manhattan bodega worker who was put behind bars for fatally stabbing a customer tried to avoid the confrontation that led to the altercation, a new video has revealed. “Papa, I don’t want a problem, papa,” Jose Alba, 51, told the victim, Austin Simon, as he walked behind the Hamilton Heights deli counter.
The words exchanged between Alba and Simon before the tragic incident have been revealed for the first time in footage obtained by New York Post. The incident set off a public outcry, with most arguing that Alba acted in self-defense. On July 1, Simon came to the Blue Moon convenience store minutes after his girlfriend tried to buy a bag of chips for her daughter. Her electronic benefits card was reportedly declined, and the woman accused Alba of snatching the snack from the girl.
“Did you put food?” the girlfriend can be heard saying, questioning Alba on how he rang up the sale. “OK, mama, let me do it another time. My God,” Alba said. “There’s money on there,” she responded. The edited footage cuts to other customers, and the woman can be heard shouting, "You can’t touch my daughter. Don’t snatch that out of my daughter, you f**king piece of shit!”
Alba, however, is not seen in the footage snatching the snack. “I’m gonna bring my n– down here and he gonna f**k you up. My n**** is gonna come down here right now and f**k you up!” the woman said. “That’s not my fault, it’s not working," Alba said, continuing to ring up sales. At one point, he told another customer, referring to the girlfriend, "She don’t have money.” Another woman asked, “Did they take something from you?”, to which Alba replied, "No, I take it back.”
Simon then walked in and immediately went behind the counter. “What’s up with you? N****r what is wrong with you?” he said angrily. Alba, who was in the middle of ringing up a woman, held out his arm as Simon approached him. A video that was previously released showed part of the altercation between Alba and Simon, in which Simon was seen pushing Alba into a chair. Following a tussle, Alba stabbed Simon to death.
NYC Bodega worker (Jose Alba) is attacked by an irate customer (Austin Simon). He kills him in self-defense and is now being charged with murder and held on $250K bail he can't afford.— Benji, Virgo’s Finest. (@gntlmnking) July 7, 2022
The DA should drop the charges on this old man. pic.twitter.com/nhjh8VZxGJ
A blood-covered Simon was seen laying on the bodega floor as his girlfriend screamed, "That was over $3. Three f**king dollars. He snatched something out of my daughter…please help him.” NYPD officers subsequently arrived and led away Alba, who is now facing murder charges.
Alba suffered stab wounds during the altercation, inflicted upon him by Simon's girlfriend. He was released from Rikers Island last week after prosecutors agreed to lower his $250,000 bond. Francisco Marte, the founder of the Bodega and Small Business Group, claimed that Alba was “very sorry for what happened.” “He knew that his life was threatened. He was protecting himself…or we would be looking to bury him today,” Marte said.
Osamah Aldhabyani, 35, who owns the bodega, said that he was afraid of going back to work. He said he was scared that Simon's friends could retaliate, and insisted he saw two of them in a car outside the store. “I’m scared for my life,” he said.