The Bodega employee in Manhattan, who is charged with murder for fending off an assailant, cannot return to work while he is out on bail because his colleagues fear he could face retaliation from his assailant’s friends, they said the post on Friday.
“We’re not letting him come back,” said an employee at the Hamilton Heights Blue Moon grocery store, who identified himself only as Wilson, of 61-year-old Jose Alba.
“[His alleged victim’s] Friends, family, knowing that the man who killed your son, brother, boyfriend, whatever, got out of prison and works here? That’s a death sentence. You know where the place is.”
The store’s owner, Osamah Aldhabyani, told The Post Alba is not being paid while he is unemployed after helping pay the cost of his bail bond.
Aldhabyani, 35, said Alba “didn’t want to take any chances” and returned to the store immediately. But if Alba is ready to return to work, the owner said he could transfer him to another shop.
“I tell him, ‘You saved your life, stay in your house. I have three stores. I’m looking for you in another shop. Don’t worry about a job,’” recalled Aldhabyani, who owns two other stores in the Bronx.
Alba was released from Rikers Island late Thursday after prosecutors agreed to lower his $250,000 bail following a wave of public outcry over the charges and the amount of bail set in the case.
He is charged with second-degree murder for stabbing 35-year-old Austin Simon five times last Friday after the career criminal got behind the counter and attacked him following an argument between his girlfriend and Alba.
Alba and his relatives insist his actions were in self-defense, and his colleagues fear more violence will follow.
“Why is [Alba] getting charged? He worked. This scares the workers even more now. That could happen to me. We work out here. We are scared. We have to protect ourselves,” Wilson said.
“In this area, you don’t know who has a gun. If there’s a fight over there in the corner, it ends up here in the store. We’re fed up with this. We are here to make money and serve the community.”
Since the incident, one worker said he came on his day off to keep his colleagues safe, and others are doing the same.
“He wasn’t looking for trouble, he was working. What should he do? The guy could have done anything… [Alba] is an old man. It’s not fair,” Wilson said.
“How the hell is he going to be charged when she started it all? She argued with Jose, she ran out and got her husband.”
After the first incident, police said Simon’s girlfriend got into a fight with Alba after she was unable to pay for a bag of chips and asked him to open a bill for her at the store.
When Alba refused, she complained to Simon, who came back and attacked the worker.
“You should consider self-defense,” another worker, who identified himself only as Escoo, said of prosecutors.
“We risk our lives to serve the community.”
https://nypost.com/2022/07/08/nyc-man-jose-alba-cant-return-to-work-over-safety-concerns/ NYC man Jose Alba is unable to return to work over safety concerns