NYC teen’s shooting death ended her quest for American dream

Krystal Bayron-Nieves was willing to do whatever it took for a sliver of the American dream.

The 19-year-old Puerto Rico native even worked a dreary late-night shift at an East Harlem Burger King — despite telling family about her fear of crime in the neighborhood — hoping to scrape together enough cash to help her mom pay the bills and afford nursing school.

She even hoped there would be enough left for a car and a vacation to Cancun, friends and family told The Post.

Instead, her life was cruelly taken last week during a brutal gun-point robbery that shocked New York — and now her friends and relatives are left to remember a life that might have been.

“She wanted to change for the better,” her friend, Narielys Figueroa, said at Krystal’s wake in Manhattan this week. “She wanted to work to get money, to get a car. She wanted to go to college to study nursing. She wanted to travel the world.

“She was a hard worker,” added Figueroa, 16. “She liked to work. She liked money. And, you know, she kept hustling.”

19-year-old Krystal Bayron-Nieves was killed during a robbery at a Burger King in Manhattan on January 9, 2022.
Robert Miller

Krystal, who will be laid to rest in Puerto Rico Saturday, a day after her funeral, moved from the island territory to the US mainland to live with her mother and younger brother six years ago, her family said, hoping for a better life in the Big Apple.

“Her mom worked, busted her butt, and her daughter started working to help her mom pay bills and stuff like that,” said cousin Melissa Quiles, 40. “And this is what happened.”

Police said the teen was working the night shift at the fast-food eatery Saturday when the gunman came in around 1 a.m., brandished a gun, and demanded money.

Her family says there was only about $100 in the cash register.

Police said the armed robber pistol-whipped one man, slugged the female manager, and, as he was leaving, turned and fired at Krystal, mortally wounding her.

Cops later charged Winston Glynn, a 30-year-old homeless former employee of the restaurant, with murder in the teenager’s shooting death.

“This is a tragedy that should not have happened. It’s as simple as that,” family attorney Sandford Rubenstein said Wednesday.

“The other issue is how did a man who apparently was homeless and who was apparently suffering from mental illness get a gun?” Rubenstein asked. “That’s an issue that we have to address a well.”

Krystal had complained about the late-night shift, fearing for her safety in a neighborhood peppered with vagrants, her family said.

The gunpoint robbery took place at the Burger King on 154 E 116st.
The gunpoint robbery took place at the Burger King on 154 E 116st.
DCPI

Her mom told The Post she still feels guilty that she convinced her daughter to stick it out and go in to work on the day she was killed.

“[Kristal] say, ‘I don’t want to go. I’m scared,’” grieving mom Kristie Nieves recalled last week. “I say, ‘You have to go and be responsible.’ At 10 p.m. I wake her up to go and tell her, ‘You have to go. You have to be responsible. You have to get a better life.’”

At her daughter’s wake this week, Nieves was so distraught that she fainted.

Police at the scene where a female employee was possibly fatally shot during a robbery of the Burger King restaurant located at 154 E116th Street.
Police investigate the scene where Krystal Bayron-Nieves was fatally shot during the Burger King robbery.
Christopher Sadowski

For Krystal the shooting derailed what seemed a promising future.

The teen had earned her high-school equivalency diploma about four months earlier and was working with a pal to fill out college applications to study nursing.

She was athletic at a young age, an avid swimmer who was also prolific at fencing, earning several medals in competitions in Puerto Rico, her family said.

Kristal Bayron-Nieves's mother feels guilty that she convinced her daughter to stick it out and go in to work on the night she was killed.
Kristal Bayron-Nieves’s mother feels guilty that she convinced her daughter to go in to work on the day she was killed.

After her death, her former fencing team issued a statement on Facebook.

“Unfortunately today the fencing of Quebradillas and Puerto Rico dressed in mourning for the tragic death of Krystal Bayron Nieves,” the post said. “You are a warrior and as your coach, I was always very proud and told you so.”

Her grandmother, Margarita Montalvo, recalled the teen as “a happy, affectionate girl.”

She said Krystal loved her cooking, particularly her Sancocho, a traditional Latin American soup, Montalvo told The Post.

Krystal Bayron-Nieves' mother at the Burger King, where a memorial is in place for her daughter who was killed.
Krystal Bayron-Nieves’ mother stands outside of the Burger King, where a memorial is in place for her daughter.
Robert Miller
According to friends and family, Krystal Bayron-Nieves' mother was so distraught, she passed out.
According to friends and family, Krystal Bayron-Nieves’ mother was so distraught, she passed out.
Robert Miller

“One time she called me,” the grandmother said. “Her mom was working. She wanted to make camarones al ajillo” — garlic shrimp. “She said, ‘Tita, how do you make this?’ And I gave her the instructions and she told me it turned out great.”

A gofundme.com page has now raised nearly $44,000 for Krystal’s family, but they said no amount will heal the loss.

“It feels like a nightmare,” said her cousin, Miguel Montalvo, 39. “Like it’s not even real. So, we’re just leaning on each other just to cope, but it’s tough.

Winston Glynn was arrested in connection to the Burger King shooting.
Winston Glynn was arrested in connection to the Burger King shooting.
Robert Miller
Winston Glynn is arraigned in Manhattan Criminal court for the murder of Kristal Bayron-Nieves.
Winston Glynn is arraigned in Manhattan Criminal court for the murder of Kristal Bayron-Nieves.
CURTIS MEANS/Dailymail/Pool

“We were just all together for New Year’s,” he said. “My aunt came down from Puerto Rico. You know, all the family was together. So, it was a joyous occasion.

“And it’s just, it’s a devastating blow,” he said.