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Witness: Deli worker mistakenly shot dead by New York cops

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Reynaldo Cuevas, a 20-year-old employee of a Bronx bodega, was shot and killed outside of the store Friday morning.

A Bronx, N.Y., bodega worker may have been mistakenly shot and killed by police responding to a standoff with armed robbers inside the store early Friday morning, according to a law enforcement source and witness accounts.

Police say at least three men entered the bodega at 631 East 168th Street at 2 a.m. Friday and barricaded themselves inside when cops arrived.

A short time later, Reynaldo Cuevas, a 20-year-old bodega employee, exited the store and was shot dead by cops, according to a relative of the slain youth. The victim's cousin Jose Garcia said he witnessed the scene and that Cuevas, a nephew of the store's owner, did not have his hands raised as he left the store and cops opened fire on him.

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"I saw the police shoot him," Garcia told NBC 4 New York. "He came up, but he didn't put his hands up. And he tripped or something and when he fell on the floor, they shot him."

A law enforcement source did confirm that Cuevas may have been mistakenly shot by police officers responding to the chaotic scene.

"Basically he was trying to get away from the robber and he was shot, " said Arjelis Duval, who also witnessed the shooting.

Three people are in custody. Drugs and a gun were recovered from the scene, the police source said.

 Maria Acevado, a friend of Cuevas', said she remembered his great sense of humor.

"He was funny," she said. " He was nice to us, just hanging with us on the corner."

A police officer responding to the robbery was also injured in a car crash with an SUV on Third Avenue and Boston Road -- about a mile away from the bodega.  The crash demolished the NYPD cruiser and the officer had to be extricated from the vehicle. 

The driver of the Range Rover that crashed with cops was treated and released, but the NYPD officer remains hospitalized at Lincoln Hospital in critical but stable condition, police said.

The details surrounding the accident aren't clear, but a woman who identified herself as the wife of the SUV driver is lashing out at police.

"Everybody who was here told me he was at the red light, police were speeding and hit him," she said.

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