MANHATTAN (PIX11) — The man accused of carrying out a three-borough string of armed robberies while wearing a hazmat suit was indicted Thursday on murder charges in the “brutal” shooting death of an Upper East Side deli clerk during one of the hold-ups, officials said.
Kimond Cyrus, 39, is charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the March shooting of Sueng Chul Choi, 67, according to prosecutors.
“Kimond Cyrus allegedly murdered Sueng Chul Choi in a brutal, chilling act of violence,” said District Attorney Alvin Bragg in a news release announcing the indictment. “Bodegas are essential threads woven throughout our Manhattan communities. We mourn the tragic loss of Mr. Choi and will continue to use every tool at our disposal to keep our hardworking bodega and deli workers safe.”
Cyrus allegedly entered the Daona Deli at the corner of East 81st Street and Third Avenue around 11:20 p.m. March 3, pulled a gun on a customer, and demanded money, officials said.
After the customer handed over some cash, Cyrus allegedly turned his attention to Choi, who refused to give up any money, prosecutors said.
Cyrus allegedly pistol-whipped Choi and put his gun to the customer’s head in an attempt to get Choi to comply, officials said. He then allegedly ordered Choi to go to the back of the store, then followed him, prosecutors said.
At that point, the customer ran out of the deli. Once outside, they heard a gunshot, officials said. Another witness then allegedly saw Cyrus walk out of the store, get on a moped, and leave the scene, prosecutors said. That witness then went into the deli, where they found Choi unconscious and bleeding from the head, officials said.
First responders pronounced Choi dead at the scene.
Cyrus is also accused of armed deli stick-ups in Brooklyn and the Bronx, including one in the latter borough just minutes after he allegedly killed Choi, prosecutors said. In each case, he allegedly wore a white hazmat suit, which investigators used to tie the incidents.
He was later arrested in the Bronx. A police search of Cyrus’ apartment allegedly turned up a loaded gun with bullets matching the one fired in the Daona Deli, as well as goods stolen from a Bronx store, officials said.
Cyrus, who is being held without bail, has pleaded not guilty. He is due back in court on the Manhattan case in July.