A suspect has been charged with stabbing an East Harlem deli worker to death seven months ago for being denied a 50-cent line of credit to buy cigarettes, police said Wednesday.
Christian Diaz was arrested on Staten Island Tuesday and charged with murder and weapon possession for the Oct. 19 stabbing of Ahmed Almoliki, 34, at the K&B Gourmet Deli on Second Ave. near E. 102nd St.
Police said Diaz, who has no prior arrest record but was known to area merchants as a problem customer, was angry he could not get a 50-cent line of credit to buy cigarettes.
Diaz, 25, threatened to shoot the deli workers after he was denied credit, police said, then exited the store and pounded on the windows, prompting Almoliki and his cousin, Zakaria Hussein, to confront the suspect on the sidewalk.
Surveillance video of the lethal encounter shows Almoliki brandishing a golf club as he chased the killer down the street, swinging so hard at one point that he comes out of his shoes.
After one missed swipe, the killer – in a dark-colored hoodie – appears to stab Almoliki at least twice in the left side before fleeing.
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The dying Almoliki, gashed on his abdomen and arm, collapsed after walking out of camera range.
Hussein, 21, was stabbed in the left eye during the deadly confrontation. He was treated at a local hospital.
Mohamed Alzokari, a cousin of the murder victim, broke the news to the family in Yemen.
“It’s a very hard moment now to say anything,” he said in October. “It’s shocking. I do not know how to explain it. “
The fatal stabbing brought then-Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams and his Republican counterpart Curtis Sliwa to the scene of the crime hours later.
“This country certainly believes in the American dream,” said Adams, who posted a personal $ 1,000 reward to encourage tipsters to come forward. “Today we are acknowledging the shattering of that dream, and it turned into a nightmare.”
Police said Diaz was initially identified by an anonymous tipster who would now appear to be in line to collect any reward money if the suspect is successfully prosecuted.