ASTORIA, N.Y. (WPIX)—Brave bodega workers fought off a pair of would-be robbers by wrestling a gun away from one of them during a holdup and keeping the suspect there until police arrived on the scene.
Police say the incident occurred around 7:15 a.m. Saturday inside the Lantigua deli at 30-74 14 St. in Astoria.
Danny Caba, 32, told authorities the two thugs had previously entered the store a few minutes earlier to purchase coffee and cigarettes -- and to possibly case out the joint.
When the suspects returned a few moments later, one of them -- identified as Jose Cruz, 24, of Brooklyn -- was reportedly donning a black mask and bullet-proof vest and was armed with a 40-caliber Glock loaded with 12 rounds. His accomplice apparently had his face covered with a black hood.
Authorities say a third man was waiting outside in a getaway car.
The suspects reportedly entered the bodega by using the back entrance and approached Caba and manager Louis Colon behind the counter demanding money. Officials say Cruz and his accomplice ordered a female employee and a customer to the ground in the back of the store.
Caba said he immediately made a mad dash to get the gun away from the suspect. As the struggle ensued, a shot fired and hit the wall.
Colon reportedly sprang into action to help his friend, and Cruz's side kick then ran to the front of the store and bashed Caba over the head with a bottle.
By the time a neighbor arrived, after hearing the loud battle, Cruz's accomplice had fled the scene, police said.
Caba said as he was holding Cruz until police arrived, the suspect kept shouting, "Please don't kill me! I have family!"
New York City police are still on the hunt for two other suspects. Meanwhile, Cruz is currently being held on $75,000 bail for charges including attempted robbery and criminal possession of a weapon.