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Brooklyn Man Accused Of Stealing Construction Vehicle, Fatally Striking Owner

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An arrest has been made in a brutal hit-and-run in Brooklyn.

Police say Joshua Colon, 24, stole a man's construction vehicle before striking him fatally and taking off.

Colon was charged after being questioned at the 72nd Precinct. He was awaiting his initial court appearance late Monday night.

As CBS2's Raegan Medgie reported, victim Phil Dellegrazie, 63, was beloved by his community, and was known as a hardworking family man.

Around 9 a.m. Monday, workers at A & D Iron Works, at 305 24th St. in Brooklyn, were unloading equipment from their construction vehicle when all of a sudden, someone got inside a vehicle that had been left running, CBS2's Magdalena Doris reported.

Witnesses said the suspect was hanging out and must have noticed the keys in the vehicle.

"He came out and the truck was just pulling off the block. Someone stole it. We had a male with a hoodie up, jump in the car and take off," NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.

Dellegrazie, he owner of the family-run iron shop and of the construction vehicle, jumped into his black commercial truck and chased after the suspect. When the two got stuck in traffic on Fourth Avenue, Dellegrazie got out of his truck and tried to confront the suspect, police said.

"Something happened there. Apparently he tried to get back into the truck and he ended up under the truck and that perpetrator who stole the truck ran over him," Boyce said.

The suspect then ran over and killed Dellegrazie with the construction vehicle, 1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon reported.

It was then when Salem Jwayyed, owner of The Corner Deli at 713 Fourth Ave., heard something strange.

"They come here all the time – the workers, everybody; food, everything; every morning. That's why when he pulled over, I thought he was going to come in here," Jwayyed said. "But then he went that way, so I didn't think nothing of it. I kept on doing what I had to do. And all of a sudden, I heard a big bang."

As CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported, that bang, a witness said, was Dellegrazie getting hit.

"When he tried to steal the truck, he tried to stop him," the witness said. "Instead, he ran him over."

The suspect continued driving up 22nd Street the wrong way, hit a Lexus, and then took off on foot, witnesses said.

Surveillance video showed a man believed to be the suspect running down Brooklyn's Fifth Avenue, and in a nearby bakery appearing to change his clothes moments after the crash.

Brooklyn Construction Equipmet Hit-And-Run Suspect
A surveillance image of a suspect in a hit-and-run involving stolen construction equipment in Brooklyn on Monday, April 4, 2016. (Credit: NYPD)

Meanwhile, those who knew Dellegrazie were heartbroken.

"Great guy man, just family and work, that's it. That's it -- seven days a week, the whole family," Jwayyed said. "I've got nothing bad to say about them, nothing."

"It breaks my heart to see the family members mourning and crying," said Christopher Barnes of Brooklyn. "It really hurts the community."

Dellegrazie's employees were also heartbroken over the incident.

"He was a great boss, I'll miss him a lot," Salvador Martinez, speaking in Spanish, told 1010 WINS.

The owner died at the scene while other witnesses chased after the man responsible, Rincon reported.

Colon has been charged with second-degree murder, grand larceny, and robbery.

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