Man arrested after shooting 19-year-old worker at East Harlem Burger King

A man who police say fatally shot a 19-year-old worker at a Burger King in Upper Manhattan during a botched robbery has been arrested and charged with murder, Mayor Eric Adams and other officials at a press conference.

The man, Winston Glynn, entered the fast food restaurant on 116th Street in East Harlem shortly after midnight Sunday and pulled out a gun, police officials said.

He demanded that an employee behind a register, Kristal Bayron-Nieves, hand over the money, officials said. But as she crouched behind a counter and struggled to find the key to open the machine, authorities said Mr Glynn, 30, once shot her. She was punched in the chest and died in hospital.

Mr Glynn has been charged with multiple counts including first degree murder, robbery and criminal use of a firearm, police said. A lawyer for Mr Glynn could not be immediately reached on Friday.

While speaking alongside police officials at department headquarters, Mr. Adams said the fatal shooting was a heartbreaking example of the gun violence he has made a central part of his campaign the year last and that he pledged to fight at City Hall.

“I visited Kristal’s mother and just saw the pain on her face, and saw how torn her apart by this incident,” Mr Adams said. “I don’t come to the press conferences of the arrests. But this one was so personal.

The murder of Ms Bayron-Nieves was another painful loss in the section of East Harlem where she worked – a neighborhood where gun violence has become more common.

Shootings in New York had reached historic lows in 2018 and 2019, but had jumped dramatically during the pandemic. Experts say trends showed encouraging signs of improvement in the second half of last year.

But the rate of shootings remains higher than it was before the pandemic and is particularly high in some areas of the city, including East Harlem. A few blocks from the Burger King in East Harlem where Ms Bayron-Nieves was killed, an off-duty police officer was injured on New Years Day when he was hit by a bullet while he was was sleeping in his car in front of a police station.

Police said Mr Glynn was identified on surveillance video wearing a pair of headphones similar to those he had with him during the shooting. He was arrested Thursday night at his home in Brooklyn.

Mr Glynn had worked at the same Burger King as the shooting victim between April and December 2020, police said, but officials had no indication that he and Ms Bayron-Nieves knew each other. Officials said he likely planned to rob a store he knew.

Mr Glynn, who was wearing a black ski mask, had already withdrawn $100 from another ledger before the shooting, police said.

He had already been arrested four times, authorities said, including for criminal possession of a weapon in an incident in which he brandished a knife.

In the days following Ms Bayron-Nieves’ death, residents of East Harlem held several vigils, placing pink and white balloons, bouquets of flowers and more than three dozen candles against the Burger King’s entrance .

At one of the memorials, a cousin of Ms Bayron-Nieves, Kiara Fuentes, described the aftermath of an incident which she said ‘hurt our family so much’.

“My Kristal didn’t deserve this. She didn’t wake up thinking she wasn’t going to go home,’ Ms Fuentes said. “It’s heartbreaking. This shouldn’t happen to anyone, especially teenagers.

The teenager’s family had moved to New York from Puerto Rico a few years ago “in search of a better future”, wrote on social media Diana Ayala, a councilor whose nephew is a cousin of Ms. Bayron-Nieves. filming.

Ms Bayron-Nieves had recently received her GED and was working at Burger King to save money as she planned for her future, family friend Nathalie Pagan told the New York Daily News this week.

Department chief Kenneth Corey said on Friday that officials were trying to determine whether Mr Glynn suffered from a mental illness.

“That could be a problem here,” Chief Corey said. “Maybe he’s a person who, if he had gotten services sooner, we could have saved this woman’s life.”

At a memorial event this week, Ms Ayala, who represents parts of East Harlem and the South Bronx, said she was concerned about the repercussions of the trauma that may linger after the shooting.

The teenager’s 14-year-old brother was the one who received the call saying she had died in hospital, she said.

“It’s a trauma that stays with us for years. Many of us grew up in the same conditions,” Ms Ayala said. “It is inhumane and cruel to continue to allow communities of color to live in these circumstances.”

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