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Angry homeless man opens fire in New York City deli, kills customer. But off-duty cop is in store, too — and tackles, detains shooter.


'So you think a social worker would have had the balls to do that? Still want to get rid of police?'

Image source: New York City Police Department

An angry homeless man who had just been kicked out of a deli in Queens, New York, on Monday returned to the store and opened fire, fatally shooting a customer, police told the New York Daily News.

What are the details?

Steven Cohen, 63, lives out of his blue Honda Odyssey, the paper said, and he was at the store in Ozone Park to buy lottery tickets but was acting disorderly.

Mohmediyan Tarwala, 26, helped a worker escort Cohen out of the Cross Bay Express Deli, the Daily News said.

But Cohen returned around 6:15 p.m., opened the door, and opened fire, the paper said, hitting Tarwala twice in the stomach. Cohen then turned the gun on the clerk but lowered it after seeing the plexiglass barrier at the counter, sources told the Daily News.

The accused shooter took off, but New York City Police Officer Jason Maharaj — who was off duty and in the store — followed the suspect outside, wrestled him to the ground, and grabbed the gun, police told the paper.

Police recovered a Colt .45 handgun at the scene, sources told the New York Post.

Medics rushed Tarwala to Jamaica Hospital, but he could not be saved, the Daily News said.

Anything else?

Just prior to the shooting, Cohen entered another store, Beer Town, across the street, and told the clerk to call 911, the Daily News said.

"He seemed like he was in the middle of a medical emergency," Beer Town clerk Chris Hanlon told the paper. "He then just walked away."

Cohen is charged with murder, attempted murder, and criminal use of a firearm, the Daily News said.

Officer Maharaj is from the 77th Precinct and has been with the NYPD for two years, the Post reported.

What did folks have to say about the off-duty officer?

Commenters on the NYPD News page on Twitter praised the off-duty officer for stepping up.

"Great job!! So you think a social worker would have had the balls to do that?" one commenter asked. "Still want to get rid of police? GOD BLESS THE MEN & WOMEN OF THE NYPD!!"

"God bless our police!!! Never listen to the idiots out there. Mature sensible people appreciate and support you," another commenter said.

Although one quipped that "the officer will be suspended for assaulting the criminal because he tackled him!"

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