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Fugitive pedophile who died in West Village gun battle was turned in by his boss who recognised him from crime show

8-4-2014 New York:

A fugitive pedophile who was gunned down in New York City in daylight was turned in by his boss who recognised him from a television crime show.

Charles Mozdir, 32, had been on the run since 2012, but thanks to the tip, authorities tracked him to a Greenwich Village smoke shop, sources told the New York Daily News.

Steve Zhik, who owns Smoking Culture on W. Fourth St., alerted cops that Mozdir was working as a salesman at his store after seeing an episode on CNN’s new series The Hunt about the wanted man last week, sources said.

But when NYPD Det. Mario Muniz and two U.S. Marshals arrived on Monday afternoon, Mozdir opened fired, wounding the three lawmen.

The sex offender who had been on the run for two years after skipping bail for molesting two boys under the age of seven in California was shot and killed in the dramatic shoot-out with federal marshals and police.

Zhik, 33, could not be reached for comment.

A woman Mozdir was seeing also saw the show and was so disgusted she decided to give him up.

She called authorities, and gave them his cellphone number -police pinged it to confirm he was in the area.

Mozdir had been the target of a nationwide manhunt after a family friend accused him of molesting her son while the child lay sick in bed in Coronado, California, in June 2012.

It was the second child molestation case against him, investigators said.

Child porn and bestiality videos were also allegedly found in his home.

But instead of facing charges he fled. His car was found abandoned in Darien, Georgia, later that June.

It turned out he had been hiding in Key West, Florida, and just months ago moved to Manhattan.

The shooting happened just after 1pm in the West Village, not far from New York University, when a fugitive apprehension task force tried to serve a warrant at a shop called Smoking Culture NYC.

The store sells items including bongs, cigarettes and cigars and it is believed that Mozdir was behind the counter and working when the authorities showed up.

Two U.S. Marshals and an NYPD detective were wounded in the shooting. The officers were part of the special task force investigating Mozdir.

They entered the shop to serve him with a warrant when he pulled a revolver on them. He also had 20 spare rounds of ammunition in his pockets.

Sources say one of the marshals was shot in the leg and the NYPD detective was shot three times.

Emergency workers transported all four victims to Bellevue Hospital, where the suspect died.

One of the marshals was shot in the leg and the NYPD detective - named as NYPD Detective Mario Muniz, 45, - was shot three times.

The detective has 20 years service with the NYPD and had recently been promoted, Bratton said.

Mayor Bill De Blasio said on Monday that the officers were recovering and 'in good spirits'. He added that the detective's life had been saved by his bullet-proof vest.

Jerry DeWitt, who lives on the West Village street where the shooting took place, arrived minutes after the shoot-out and described the scene as 'pure chaos'.

You expect anything to happen here but not this,' he told MailOnline.

Another resident, Christine Rucci, who lives opposite the shop, told MailOnline that at first she heard a loud noise and when she looked out her front window she noticed the shop was surrounded by a number of unmarked cars and there was a helicopter overhead.

She estimated that there are four elementary schools nearby. 'What is really upsetting is that he was a sex offender and that he had a gun,' she told MailOnline.

Ms Rucci, who has lived in the area for 25 years said it used to feel very safe - especially when Michael Bloomberg's daughter lived in the same building - but that there had also been a shooting on Mother's Day on the same street.

A $1 million bench warrant was issued for Mozdir's arrest on June 15, 2012, after he skipped an arraignment in San Diego Superior Court on child sexual assault charges, according to Steve Walker, a spokesman for the San Diego County district attorney. He had posted $250,000 bail.

Mozdir had been wanted on five counts of lewd acts upon a child younger than 14 and a charge of attempting to keep a witness from prosecuting a crime, according to the criminal complaint.

The one-time wedding photographer has been accused by a family friend of molesting her seven-year-old son while babysitting him in Coronado, near San Diego.

After he disappeared, investigators had found sickening images of child pornography and bestiality on his cell phone and computers at his home.

He was considered armed and dangerous since a roommate told police that Mozdir, armed with two guns, threatened to kill himself and a victim's father.

Law enforcement had hunted him from California to Mexico to the deep south and finally to New York City.

According to CNN, after the episode of The Hunt featuring Mozdir aired authorities received a tip that he was working at a restaurant in Manhattan, but the information didn't pan out.

After CNN re-aired Mozdir's episode on Sunday night, another tip came in that resulted in an address for Mozdir, according to John Walsh.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says the three are stable and that, 'We pray everything we are hearing is true and that these officers will be OK in the long run.' ..Source.. by Daily Mail Reporter

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