A 64-year-old man was arrested Thursday in the fatal shooting of a 67-year-old woman during a robbery at her check-cashing store in the city’s Ogontz section, police said.
Robert Jiles, of the 3900 block of Pulaski Avenue, was charged with criminal homicide, robbery, firearms violations, and related offenses for the slaying of Aruna Mittal inside Any Checks Cashed at 5812 Old York Rd. early Tuesday afternoon.
Police said they were called to the location just after 1:15 p.m. and were met by a civilian who said they had entered the store but could not find any employees. Police found Mittal in a back room with a gunshot wound to her chest. She was pronounced dead at the scene by medics.
Word of an arrest brought relief to the people who work on the block.
The only evidence of the crime was a piece of yellow police tape hanging from security grate in the front of the closed store and an arrangement of red roses sticking from the grate. Employees of businesses on either side of the crime scene said they did not know the victim’s name but remembered her warmly.
“She was always smiling, always asking, ‘How are you?’” said Alamgir Hossan, 30, who was working behind the counter at Mine Jewelry & Perfume.
Hossan said he was in his store when the shooting took place but didn’t hear the gunshot and was unaware of what had happened next door until three police officers came over to inform him. “I hurt very bad when they carried her out,” he said.
A woman who gave her name as Ebony who works at the front counter of the Precious Babies Learning Academy Inc., said Mittal and her husband were friendly and often interacted with employees of the day care.
“They were really nice people. I didn’t talk to them every day, but they were nice people,” she said.
The shooting was a reminder of why the day care’s front door is always locked and those wishing to enter must be buzzed in to the lobby, she said.
“I’m so glad they caught him,” she said of the gunman. “He didn’t have no regard for the fact that there were children in a day-care center next door, in broad daylight, with parents running in and out of here. For him to do something like that was wrong. It’s beyond me. That’s why we don’t have cash in this building. No cash whatsoever.”
Mike Jeon, 54, owner of Old York Seafood, said the couple had been in business for about a year on Old York Road and had a second business elsewhere. Although he’s been in business for nine years, Jeon said the area is not too safe. “Not really. Many things happen around here. But you have to be careful.”
Of the gunman, he said: “Keep him in jail for a while. Never let him out. That’s crazy, using a gun to rob someone and take their life. That’s not right.”