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A Manhattan bodega worker who was charged with murder after defending himself against an attacker has quit his job in fear of his life, and is considering leaving New York City for good and returning to his native Dominican Republic.
Jose Alba, 61, had charges dropped from the July 1 attack following an outpouring of anger at the decision to prosecute.
But Alba has now left his job and fled the city, said Francisco Marte, the head of a bodega association assisting Alba.
‘He is taking a hiatus right now,’ Marte said.
‘He went upstate to get away from everything.
‘He is not going back to work at the bodega. He is taking a break fighting with his trauma, and he said he is afraid for his life.’
Jose Alba (right) posed for a celebratory photo with Francisco Marte, president of the Bodega and Small Business Association of New York, on July 19 after DA Alvin Bragg dropped the murder charges against him
Bodega worker Jose Alba (right) was physically attacked by a customer before pulling out a knife and fatally stabbing the man. Charges against Alba are now being dropped
Marte said that Alba was haunted by the fight that cost Austin Simon, 35, his life.
‘He is trying to get back to normal, but he said it’s very hard when you have flashbacks of what happened,’ said Simon.
‘We are getting him professional help, and then [Alba and his family] decide whether he goes back to the DR for good or just spends some time there.’
On July 19, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office asked a judge to drop the charges Alba after having faced intense backlash, including criticism from the city’s mayor.
Alba, confronted by reporters outside his home, said he is feeling ‘so-so’ and believes justice has been served.
He also shared that the wounds he sustained during the altercation are ‘healing.’
Alba, who had faced a second-degree murder charge, was working at the Blue Moon deli on July 1 when he fatally stabbed Simon in the neck and chest.
Alba briefly spoke to the media after the charges were dropped. He said the wounds he sustained during the altercation are ‘healing.’ Alba’s scarred arm is pictured as the bodega worker shielded his face behind his door
Alba (left) told reporters he is feeling ‘so-so’ and believes justice has been served. His wound is pictured on the right
Marte (pictured), when asked if Alba would show his face, told the media: ‘We appreciate the support but for his safety and by the lawyers advice we can’t show his face’
Alba’s wound is pictured on July 19
Surveillance footage from the Blue Moon convenience store in Hamilton Heights showed Jose Alba, 61, was assaulted before he grabbed a knife and stabbed Austin Simon, 35, on July 1
Jose Alba, 61, the Manhattan bodega worker charged with murder for stabbing a man who assaulted him, is pictured earlier this month after being released on bail
Progressive DA Alvin Bragg had faced intense criticism after charging the bodega worker
Surveillance footage clearly showed that Simon had moved behind the counter at the convenience store in Hamilton Heights and pushed the store clerk into a stack of shelves before grabbing him.
It was only then that Alba reached over to a shelf and pulled out a knife to fight back.
During the altercation, Alba was apparently stabbed by Simon’s girlfriend, who instigated the argument when her benefits card was declined. The girlfriend was never charged in the incident.
The motion to dismiss stated that prosecutors ‘have determined that we cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not justified in his use of deadly physical force.’
The filing said that ‘a homicide case against Alba could not be proven at trial beyond a reasonable doubt’ and that the case will not be presented to a grand jury.
District Attorney Bragg had faced intense criticism after charging Alba, including from Mayor Eric Adams.
This is the moment Alba was stabbed in the arm by the girlfriend of the man he stabbed to death on July 1 in a row over a bag of potato chips
Alba was stabbed in the arm by Simon’s girlfriend during the altercation
Alba showed his wounds to DailyMail.com on July 11
Pressure had been growing for Bragg to drop the charges against Alba since footage emerged showing that Simon – who has previously been convicted for other assaults – had pushed Alba into a shelf and started dragging him.
The footage shows the two struggling before Alba grabbed his knife and started stabbing Simon.
Other videos obtained by DailyMail.com show Simon – who was on parole for attacking a police officer when he died – marching behind the bodega counter to confront Alba.
‘Papa, I don’t want a problem, papa,’ Alba told him calmly.
Simon charged into the Blue Moon convenience store minutes after his girlfriend tried to buy a bag of chips for her daughter, but her electronic benefits card had been declined.