Dereck Chen, 19, shot dead in attempted robbery at BJ’s Wholesale Club in Brooklyn

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NEW YORK – A customer was shot and killed late Thursday night at BJ’s Wholesale Club in Brooklyn.

Investigators suspect the 19-year-old was the victim of a failed robbery. It happened just after 10 p.m. in an elevator leading to the store’s parking garage on Shore Parkway in Bath Beach.

Sources say the victim was with several friends when he got into the elevator.

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According to police, the suspect attempted to steal 19-year-old Dereck Chen’s backpack, then pulled out a gun and shot him in the face as he fought back.

Elijah Westbrook of TNZT spoke to an employee who was at work when this all happened.

“They were on their way to the elevator. All I heard was, ‘Get off my bag,'” Rodney Tele told Westbrook. “He was trying to hold the man’s briefcase or whatever he was carrying, and all of a sudden there were shots – two or three. And I had jumped into the building, because I didn’t want it to be me. So I’m eventually moved.”

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View Elijah Westbrook’s report


BJ’s reopens after shopper shot dead in parking garage

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Friends of the victim called 911.

Detectives said the 18-year-old gunman fled on foot, but when he emerged from the garage, he encountered officers and was quickly arrested.

Chen was taken to nearby NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, where he died. Police believe he was the victim of a random robbery attempt and did not know his attacker.

“My reaction, of course it’s a terrible reaction,” BJ’s client Olga Ckachuk told TNZT’s Andrea Grymes.

“We go to those BJs all the time, which is why I say it’s very disturbing,” said Bensonhurst resident Elizabeth Chan.

Chan not only goes to that store, but lives on the street from where the victim lived. She told Westbrook that she didn’t know the young man, but her heart breaks for his family and those who did.

“It’s in our community. It’s a person the same age as my daughter, and we need to do something about it,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, you have taken someone’s life. You have to take responsibility and be punished.”

The store reopened on Friday and the company in a statement called the shooting a “terrible tragedy.”

“BJ’s Wholesale Club joins our Bath Beach community in grieving the loss of the victim and exposing violence of every kind. The safety and security of our BJ’s members, team members and community is our top priority , and we are working with local authorities and security experts to ensure the safest environment,” the statement continued.

On Friday, the Brooklyn GOP and several Republicans running for office labeled New York City a “public safety nightmare.”

“Again, another New Yorker was the victim of horrific and senseless violence,” said Richie Barsamian of the Brooklyn GOP.

Police have not yet released the suspect’s name as the charges are still pending. According to sources, he has no criminal record.

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