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Would-be robber shot in stomach during struggle with NYC liquor store owner: cops

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The owner of a Queens liquor store was arrested for allegedly shooting a would-be robber who assaulted him at his business late Monday, police and sources said. 

Kevin Pullutasi and Edwin Poaquiza, both 20, allegedly barged into the Franja Wines and Liquors store on Wyckoff Avenue near Putnam Avenue in Ridgewood around 7:45 p.m. and tried to swoop up some items, cops said. 

Both were asked to leave – but authorities said they returned a short time later and assaulted the store’s 53-year-old owner, Francisco Valerio. 

During an ensuing struggle Valerio’s gun went off and a bullet struck Pullutasi in the stomach, according to cops and sources. 

Pullutasi was taken to the Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he was listed in stable condition. 


Kevin Pullatasa and Edwin Poaquiza, both 20, allegedly assaulted a worker at Franja Wines and Liquors store in Ridgewood around 7:45 p.m. citizen.com

Poaquiza ran off, but was nabbed a short time later, cops said.

Both Pullutasi and Poaquiza were charged with robbery, third-degree assault and menacing, police said. 

Valerio, of Brooklyn, was slapped with a reckless endangerment charge, cops said.

Sources said the liquor store owner has a concealed-carry permit for the firearm. 

Valerio’s brother, who declined to give his name, told The Post Tuesday this is the first time an incident like this has happened at the store.

“The police are still investigating. He’s OK,” he said.

“I am [worried]. It’s my brother…it’s family, you feel it…I don’t know what happened. You never know. Things happen all of a sudden and you don’t know.”


785 Wyckoff Ave, Ridgewood
Pullatasa ended up shot in the stomach, and was listed in stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital Center. citizen.com

Valerio’s 47-year-old Brooklyn neighbor, Carmen Navarro, told The Post she suspected the liquor store owner acted in self-defense.

“Why should he be charged? It was self-defense. He was protecting his property,” said Navarro, who added that her neighbor “has a license for the gun.”

The neighbor also decried the current state of the Big Apple.

“There’s no rules and regulations right now in New York City and this is what is going on because kids go out, do whatever they want and you, as a property owner, you can’t even defend yourself,” she said.

Maya Garrett, a local customer of the liquor store, was shocked over the shooting. When she walked in on Tuesday she checked in with the owner’s brother to make sure he was okay.

“They’re like the best store ever. They’re really nice and everything. I feel so bad,” said Garrett, 23.

“They’re family-oriented and they really show that because they’re so nice to my family. My mom and dad love them. It’s just crazy to me,” she continued. 

Garrett’s mother knew that the store workers were armed to defend themselves, she said.

Adatya Chadha, 26, lives right next to the liquor store and said the shooting was “the news of the day in the neighborhood.” 

He didn’t hear any gunshots, but saw the chaotic aftermath.

“It was just like a loud noise…I heard sirens…then when I came down there was all this police tape around this liquor store right here. It was crazy,” he told The Post from his stoop.

“There’s a lot of families in Ridgewood, you don’t expect it,” he said. “Where are the cops to catch the people shooting people? They’re too busy trying to stop people from jumping subway turnstiles.”

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