Press Release


Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced today that Steven Cohen, 63, has been indicted by a Queens County grand jury and arraigned in Supreme Court on murder, attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon and other charges for allegedly shooting and killing a 26-year-old deli worker on October 26, 2020.

District Attorney Katz said, “The defendant’s alleged actions took the life of one man, and could have ended with another man being killed if not for the brave actions of an off-duty police officer who selflessly stepped in and disarmed the defendant. We are thankful that the officer heroically intervened to apprehend the defendant.”

Cohen, who has no known address, was arraigned today before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth C. Holder on an indictment charging him with murder in the second degree, attempted murder in the second degree and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. Justice Holder held the defendant without bail and ordered him to return to court on February 8, 2021.

According to the charges, on October 26 at approximately 6:15 p.m. inside the Cross Bay Express Deli, at 137-02 Cross Bay Boulevard, the defendant, became embroiled in an argument with the victim when he was ordered out of the store. Cohen left the deli but returned a short time later allegedly with a Colt revolver. The defendant is accused of pointing the gun at Tarwala Mahmadkhurshid, the deli worker he’d argued with, and then fired multiple times. The victim was struck in the abdomen by a single bullet. The defendant then allegedly fired the weapon again, this time aiming for another deli employee, but he missed his intended target.

Continuing, DA Katz said, an off-duty police officer who was inside the store was jumped into action and disarmed Cohen and holding him until other officers arrived on the scene.

Mr. Mahmadkhurshid died from his injuries at a local Queens hospital.

Assistant District Attorneys Adarna DeFrietas, Emily Collins and Joseph Grasso of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau are prosecuting the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Brad Leventhal, Bureau Chief, Peter J. McCormack III, Senior Deputy Bureau Chief, John W. Kosinski and Kenneth M. Appelbaum, Deputy Bureau Chiefs, and under the overall supervision of Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Daniel A. Saunders.

**Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.