Gunshots are rarely heard in the neighborhood surrounding Zabar’s, the legendary, decades-old market on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Known for its lox—and referenced in a slew of New York comedies like Friends and You’ve Got Mail—the store was the setting for a crime scene Tuesday morning after a homeless man accidentally shot himself in the leg while waiting to pay for his toasted bagel.
“He was a regular person. One bagel toasted with cream cheese was his order," Marcos Vargas, an employee at Zabar’s, told the New York Daily News. “And he was standing waiting for his order and then we were helping people and then suddenly we heard the gun, and then he walked outside the door.”
Police followed a trail of blood for blocks, and believe the man—later identified as a 48-year-old Brooklynite named Louis Leston Anderson—eventually took a cab to Mt. Sinai Roosevelt Hospital.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Anderson is homeless and claims to have found the gun while looking for cardboard near the Lincoln Tunnel. The gun was concealed inside the market and went off when Anderson was adjusting his waistband. The weapon was later found wrapped in plastic and discarded near Riverside Park.
Saul Zabar, the co-owner of the 82-year-old market, says the store serves roughly 35,000 customers each week, and that this was the first shooting in its history. The incident was initially called in as a robbery, and the store was closed for two hours after Anderson fled.
“It’s New York,” Scott Goldshine, the store’s manager, told the Wall Street Journal. “These things happen. It could happen everywhere. At least it wasn’t a holdup.”