New York’s district attorney has charged an NYC bodega worker with murder for stabbing an attacker to death while defending his store. 61-year-old Jose Alba, booked into Rikers Island on $250,000 bail, found himself in a confrontation with career criminal Austin Simon after Simon’s girlfriend refused to pay for a bag of chips.
The incident occurred at Alba’s bodega on Broadway and West 138th street last week, when Alba took back a bag of chips from Simon’s girlfriend after she couldn’t pay for it. Simon’s girlfriend told him what happened, and an enraged Simon arrived the same night.
As he entered, Simon got behind the counter and in the face of Alba. As Alba started to stand up from his chair, Simon slammed him into the counter. When Alba recovered and tried to move away from Simon, Simon grabbed Alba by the neck, who then stabbed Simon multiple times with a knife in self-defense.
Alba was arrested at the scene and bail was set at $250,000. Following public outcry aimed at Manhattan’s progressive District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Alba’s lawyers were able to get the bail lowered to $50,000 and he was subsequently released on Thursday.
“He’s not used to this behavior,” Jose’s son Jeffery said in an interview with the New York Post. “He’s not used to this type of aggression. At the moment he was in fear for his life.”
Simon’s girlfriend allegedly also had a knife during the confrontation and stabbed Alba in the shoulder multiple times, but no charges have been filed against her.
Alba’s family started a GoFundMe page which raised about $20,000, but the company shut it down, saying it has a policy against “violent acts.”
The hashtag #FreeJoseAlba started trending on Twitter this week as the story began to go viral on sites like the New York Post and the Daily Mail.
Under the rules agreed to with the judge, Alba must wear a 24-hour ankle monitor bracelet, and he’s not allowed to leave the United States and the five Boroughs of New York.
Alba was sent to Rikers, according to sources, under the direction of Manhattan’s progressive D.A Alvin Bragg, who has a similar philosophy on crime as Los Angeles D.A George Gascon.
Alba’s next court date is set for July 20th.
D.A. Bragg has been actively working to let out career criminals from the city’s jails, also publicly pushing soft-on-crime policies.