An Allerton Sunoco gas station attendant who was shot in the head Tuesday night has been a constant and friendly face in the community, locals said.
Police responded to a 911 call around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night in the vicinity of Boston Road and Astor Avenue, where a Sunoco gas station is located. A 59-year-old gas attendant, who locals say is named Ali, was shot in the head after opening the door to the small store, according to the NYPD.
He was taken to Jacobi Hospital in critical yet stable condition and is still alive as of Wednesday, police told the Bronx Times.
No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing, police said. The NYPD would not confirm Ali’s full name.
Richard Reynoso told the Bronx Times he has been getting gas from Ali for two decades and described him as the nicest person in the neighborhood, always with a smile on his face.
“He completed the neighborhood because of his presence there,” said Reynoso, a member of Community Board 11. “I think you will hear a lot of people say they’re shocked because of that, because it’s like who the hell would even think of hurting this man when he is like, a sort of a family figure to all of us in the area.”
Ali worked nearly every day over the years, with an overnight 6 p.m.-6 a.m. shift at the Sunoco, including through the COVID-19 pandemic, Reynoso said. Through all the changes, he was a constant.
“Every time I was there, he was there,” Reynoso said.
Roxanne Delgado, an Allerton reseident, described Ali similarly.
She told the Bronx Times that for at least a year now, she spoke with him every night as she passed the gas station walking home from the 2 train.
He would strike up conversation with her as she walked by, asking how she is and telling her to get home safely. They would chat about the weather or gas prices, and he always seemed to be in a good mood.
But on Tuesday night, when Delgado walked by, she didn’t see him. Instead, she saw the police. She said she looked for Ali to ask him what happened, and once she didn’t see him she began to get nervous. She was told that he was shot, and the ambulance had just left.
“All I could tell you is he is one of the nicest men you could ever imagine meeting,” Delgado said. “He stands out in this neighborhood because he is so nice and pleasant. Not that I’m saying anything bad about my neighborhood, but most people don’t have time to even recognize you or say ‘Morning,’ or ‘Afternoon.’ He always says hello. Always.”
Delgado said Ali was usually standing outside or pumping gas when she came by.
A GoFundMe was created for Ali on Wednesday to help him and his family with rent and medical bills. Within six hours, more than $1,000 was raised out of a $10,000 goal. The Bronx Times has reached out to GoFundMe to verify that the fund was created by a friend or family member and is awaiting confirmation.
The phone number for the 2290 Boston Road gas station went to voicemail, which was full on Wednesday.
Reach Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes