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New York City Charges Liquor Store Owner After Accidentally Shooting Shoplifter Who Got Violent

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QUEENS, NY — Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz has announced charges against a local liquor store owner and two individuals following a series of events leading to violence outside a liquor store in Queens.

On the evening of May 20, Edwin Poaquiza and Kevin Pullatasi allegedly stole two bottles of liquor from Franja Wine and Liquors on Wyckoff Avenue. Store owner Francisco Valerio and his brother, Luis Valerio, confronted the individuals inside the store, leading to a confrontation that spilled onto the sidewalk.

The video shows one of the two men violently charging Valerio. Valerio swung his pistol at the man and the gun accidentally discharged. He now faces 7 years in prison.

As the altercation escalated, Francisco Valerio, who has a concealed carry permit, reportedly attempted to use his firearm to strike Pullatasi but instead discharged it, shooting Pullatasi in the abdomen.

Pullatasi was later hospitalized with internal bleeding and is currently receiving treatment. Francisco Valerio was taken into custody and a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol was recovered at the scene.

Francisco Valerio, 53, of Brooklyn, has been arraigned on charges including assault in the second and third degrees, reckless endangerment in the first degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. He could face up to seven years in prison if convicted of the top charge. His court date is set for July 29.

Edwin Poaquiza, 20, also from Brooklyn, faces a charge of petit larceny with a potential sentence of up to 364 days in jail. His arraignment occurred last night, with a return to court scheduled for July 24.

The incident is still under investigation by Detective Paul Palminteri of the NYPD’s 104th Precinct, with the case being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Hugh McCann of the District Attorney’s Career Criminal Major Crimes Bureau.

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