(NewsNation) — There is no doubt Jose Alba killed a man in an Upper Manhattan bodega on July 1. That much is clear from surveillance footage.
What remains unclear however, at least in the eyes of the Manhattan district attorney, is whether the 61-year-old Alba acted in self-defense when he stabbed 37-year-old Austin Simon to death.
Alba recently received a vote of confidence from the nearby Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon, who seems to believe that Alba was acting in self-defense.
“If you’re under attack, whether at home, school, or in your business, you do have the right to defend yourself,” McMahon said.
Surveillance footage of the incident shows a woman in the bodega Alba was working in having her card declined while she was trying to buy her daughter a snack.
That woman leaves and returns with her boyfriend, Simon.
Simon goes behind the counter and appears to start an altercation with Alba, pushing him down and becoming physical with the older man.
That’s when Alba repeatedly stabbed Simon in the neck, killing him. Alba was arrested on charges of second-degree-murder. He was taken to New York’s notoriously violent Rikers Island jail complex.
“We’re here today because an innocent business owner who works hard every day, a guy comes in to attack him in this little confined space,” said Staten Island President Vito Fosella. “He defends himself and they put him in Riker’s Island. That’s why we’re here, to say that’s insane.”
Bail for Alba was initially set at $500,000 and then lowered to $50,000. He was released from Rikers on Thursday and had little to say when he returned home.
“In some parts of the world, that guy would be a hero for saving himself,” Fosella said. “He’d get a medal.”
Manhattan’s district attorney has yet to decide if he will take the case to a grand jury for an indictment or drop the charges.
Alba, meanwhile, must wear an electronic tracking device and cannot leave New York City. His court date is July 20.