NYC liquor store owner faces 7 years in prison for shooting would-be robber who attacked him as group rallies to drop charges

A Queens liquor store owner is going through seven years in prison after shooting a would-be thief who attacked him in a caught-on-camera conflict — however some critics need the charges dropped.

Francisco Valerio, 53, and his brother Luis allegedly caught two sticky-fingered suspects attempting to slip bottles of booze into their jackets inside Franja Wines and Liquors in Ridgewood at about 7:45 p.m. Monday, in accordance to cops and store surveillance footage.

The Valerios grabbed Kevin Pullutasi and Edwin Paiquiza – each 20 – then shoved them in the direction of the door as one other buyer appeared on, the video launched by a commerce group confirmed.

Surveillance video released Wednesday, May 22, 2024, by the United Bodegas of America reportedly shows Francisco Valerio shooting alleged shoplifter kevin Pullutasi at Franjo Liquor Store 785 Wyckoff Ave in Ridgewood Queens.
In the surveillance video, one of many would-be thieves tries to slip a bottle of brown liquor beneath his jacket. United Bodegas of America
Perp Valerio Francisco
Valerio Francisco, 53, (proper) leaving courtroom after his arraignment on Tuesday. Wayne Carrington

But the battle didn’t finish after they pushed the would-be thieves out the door. Instead, the kerfuffle spilled onto the pavement on Wyckoff Avenue, the place the brothers appeared to commerce insults with the suspects.

As the would-be walked away from the store, one of many brothers leaned out the door and appeared to say one thing that despatched Pullutasi right into a rage, the video reveals.

Pullatasi charged the door and traded punches and kicks with the lads — simply earlier than Valerio stepped outdoors and took a wild swing along with his proper hand.

That’s when the gun in his hand went off, in accordance to an announcement from the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

Pullutasi stumbled round after the shooting, then got here to relaxation in opposition to a automotive parked on the street, the video confirmed.

Valerio walked over and appeared to attempt to assist the wounded man, who remained by the automotive till the video reduce out.

All three face charges — however Valerio’s two counts of assault are by far essentially the most severe, and threaten to imprison him for up to seven years.

“Brazen thieves stole merchandise from a neighborhood liquor shop,” Katz stated in an announcement.

“After the store was targeted by these shoplifters, the stolen merchandise was recovered, and the two men were escorted out of the store,” she continued. “At that point, the store owner was physically attacked by one of the men. Unfortunately, as alleged, that led to a reckless shooting by the store owner on a public street in broad daylight.

One of the brothers grabbed one of the thieves, while the other grabbed the other pilferer.
One of the brothers grabbed one of the thieves, while the other grabbed the other pilferer. United Bodegas of America
Valerio allegedly tried to hit Pullutasi with the gun, but pulled the trigger instead.
Valerio allegedly tried to hit Pullutasi with the gun, but pulled the trigger instead. United Bodegas of America
Pullutasi stumbled around after the shooting, and came to rest against a car parked on the road.
Pullutasi stumbled around after the shooting, and came to rest against a car parked on the road. United Bodegas of America

“All three of the defendants in this incident will have to answer charges against them,” she added.

Still, not everyone seems to be pleased Valerio obtained charged – together with the United Bodegas of America, which stated in an announcement that Pullutasi and alleged confederate Edwin Paiquiza had robbed Valerio’s store on Wyckoff Avenue “numerous times.”

“We are threatened, robbed, assaulted and looted every day, and the bad guys get away with it,” group President Radahmes Rodriguez stated. “They are freed without bail and nothing ever happens to them. When we fight back, we are jailed and in some cases prosecuted. This must stop.”

“We are once again asking DA Melinda Katz to drop the charges,” added UBA spokesman Fernando Mateo spokesman. “Mr. Valerio is an honorable man in society, this should not change his life.”

The UBA was scheduled to maintain a press convention Wednesday in entrance of the store.

Exterior shot of the liquor store.
Neighbors stated they love Valerio, who they described as pleasant retailers. Dorian Geiger
785 Wyckoff Ave, Ridgewood
Kevin Pullutasi and Edwin Poaquiza, each 20, allegedly assaulted a employee at Franja Wines and Liquors store in Ridgewood round 7:45 p.m.

Valerio was arraigned Tuesday evening on charges of second and third-degree assault reckless endangerment and weapons possession.

His subsequent courtroom date is July 29.

The two suspected thieves face their very own authorized issues from the incident – each males have been charged with petit larceny for jacking the booze, the DA stated.

Poaquiza – who faces a 12 months in jail – will seem in courtroom July 24.

Pullatasi stays hospitalized due to the gunshot wound however prison charges in opposition to him are pending, Katz stated.

Meanwhile, neighbors expressed their shock {that a} avenue battle engulfed their sometimes quiet neighborhood.

785 Wyckoff Ave, Ridgewood
Pullutasi ended up shot in the abdomen, and was listed in secure situation at Elmhurst Hospital Center.

“I saw the guy who got shot — he was on the ground,” stated a 30-year-old lady named Renee, who works from dwelling and lives close by.

“He was on his left side holding his stomach, he was yelling in Spanish,” she continued. “I couldn’t understand what he was saying … the cops were working on him, they were looking for his wound.”

Police tried to hold him awake, however Pullatasi’s head started rolling backwards and forwards as he misplaced consciousness, she stated.

“He lifted his head up, and tried to get up,” Renee stated. “But they had him laid back down on the ground. It was another couple of minutes before the ambulance got here.

“You could tell they were kids,” she added. “They didn’t have masks on, they weren’t wearing all black. It was a wild thing, kind of a bold thing to do at 7:45 p.m. But at the end of the day, it’s still scary.”

Renee stated she’s by no means seen such a factor occur in the neighborhood, and believes this was a weird, one-off incident.

“We go in there to get a bottle of wine,” she stated. “He makes me feel comfortable. I never felt weird going in there … they’re just two guys in their 50s. They keep to themselves, stay behind the Plexiglas.

Exterior shot of the liquor store.
The neighborhood is typically quiet, neighbors said. Dorian Geiger

“I feel bad for the owner,” she continued. “He has to live with this for the rest of his life, and it sucks.”

On Wednesday morning, a person working in the store who described himself as a part of Valerio’s household stated the boss is doing good, regardless of the circumstances.

“He’s good,” the person stated. “I have not spoken to him since it happened. It’s a sensitive matter, it’s a family thing … I cannot comment.”

Russell Dickerson, a 56-year-old basketball coach and restaurant owner who frequents the liquor store, reacted in shock when he heard Valerio had been arrested.

“I’m sorry for them because they are good people,” Dickerson stated.

“I’m praying everything works out for him – we talk all the time,” Dickerson continued. “I’m the reason he got his Labrador! I have four, he saw me with them, and he let me bring my dogs into the store. He likes them, and he got one.”

Dickerson stated the shooting makes him fear for the neighborhood, which he’s lived in for seven years.

“There has never been a problem,” he stated. “Now I come home, I see police tape, I see drama … I’m starting to get scared now. I want to be in a safe place … I got to relocate. I never saw this coming.”

Dickerson additionally agreed with the bodega affiliation’s assertion that Katz ought to drop the case once more Valerio.

“I love those guys,” he stated once more, shaking his head. “I can’t say anything bad about them. They take care of their customers, and they run a good business.

“Those charges should be dropped.”

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