3 year old distracts robber, dad kills them
Girl Gives Dad Time to Shoot and Kill
Originally published at: http://abcnews.go.com/
N E W Y O R K, Dec. 26
— A 3-year-old girl’s cry of “Don’t hurt my daddy” distracted two
Brooklyn deli robbers enough to allow her father, an off-duty detective, to
draw his gun and shoot them dead, police said.
Jonathan Lynch and James Culberson allegedly
barged into the Two Flag Deli Grocery in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn on
Christmas Eve armed with a gun and a knife. They allegedly demanded money and
told the four people in the bodega — 36-year-old Det. Michael Zeller, his wife
and their two children, Michael, 5 months old, and Devin, 3 years old — to hit
the floor, which they did.
“Don’t hurt my daddy,” Devin snapped at
the robbers, distracting them.
Zeller said he leaped to his feet, shielded
Devin and fired eight shots, felling the robbers in his mother-in-law’s
“All I was thinking was I had to protect my
family,” Zeller told the New York Post in today’s editions.
Lynch, 32, of Brooklyn, was on parole for
robbery. He was hit once in the chest and died at the scene.
He had an arrest record dating to the
mid-1980s. He had several stints in prison, most recently for a grocery store
robbery in 1995. He was paroled in February.
Culberson, 25, of Queens, had been arrested
seven times. He was hit twice in the chest and died at a hospital about 45
He was sentenced to three days of community
service after being charged with first-degree robbery in November 1999 but
pleading guilty to the lesser charge of disorderly conduct. The details of six
other arrests were sealed by the courts.
Zeller acted appropriately when he fired on the
robbers, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said.
“I think he actually will be commended for
it,” Giuliani said on Monday, “because he ended up foiling a robbery in
15 Years on the Force
Zeller, a 15-year New York Police Department
veteran, and his family members were uninjured. He was treated at a hospital for
The NYPD planned to investigate the shooting,
but the circumstances did not require Zeller to be placed on mandatory leave.
Zeller’s mother-in-law, Hilda Nieves, was not
in the bodega because she had gone to her apartment across the street to tuck
some of her grandchildren into bed, neighbors said.
Nieves declined interviews on Monday.
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