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Homeless man sentenced to more than two decades in prison for gunning down Ozone Park deli worker in 2020: DA

Apr. 25, 2023 By Bill Parry

A Queens homeless man was sentenced Monday to 22 years in prison for the fatal shooting of an Ozone Park deli worker after a brief altercation in 2020, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

Steven Cohen, 66, who has no known address, pleaded guilty in Queens Supreme Court on March 30 to manslaughter in the first degree.

According to the charges, on Oct. 26, 2020, at approximately 6:15 p.m., Cohen argued with 26-year-old worker Tarwala Mahmadkhurshid inside the Cross Bay Express Deli located at 137-02 Cross Bay Blvd. near Pitkin Avenue in Ozone Park. Cohen, who was living out of a van parked nearby, was ordered out of the store but returned a short time later with a Colt revolver. Cohen pointed the gun at Mahmadkhurshid and fired multiple times. The victim was struck in the abdomen by a single bullet.

Cohen then fired the weapon again, aiming for another deli employee, but he missed his intended target, according to the charges. At that point, off-duty cop Jason Maharaj of the 77th Precinct in Brooklyn, who was inside the store, jumped into action, disarmed Cohen and held him until other officers arrived on the scene and took him into custody.

Mahmadkhurshid was immediately transported by EMS to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and later died from his injuries.

“The callous actions of this defendant cost the life of an innocent man who was simply doing his job,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. “I hope the victim’s family will find some measure of closure in knowing the defendant will serve a long prison sentence.”

Queens Supreme Court Justice Ira Margulis sentenced Cohen to 22 years in prison to be followed by five years of post-release supervision.

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