Store owner back at work after fatal shootings

August 14, 2009 5:38:53 PM PDT
Charles Agosto showed up for work today in Harlem, but with a heavy heart. The 72-year old owner of a restaurant supply store shot four armed robbers, killing two of them, and he is torn up over it.

  • SLIDES: Images from the scene in Harlem

    The drama unfolded Thursday afternoon. The man known as Gus throughout the neighborhood heard a commotion and saw men with guns demanding money. Agosto tried to reason with one of the suspects.

    Instead, he says they began pistol whipping an employee. Agosto, who has owned Blue Flame for 50 years, grabbed a shotgun he had bought 20 years ago after a robbery. Left with little choice he says, Agosto took the weapon out of a box in a corner.

    "I'm sad. I'm sad I couldn't talk them out of it. I'm sad for a mother and father who lost a son," said Agosto.

    He began shooting at the suspects, trying to protect himself and his employees.

    "I haven't used it in 20 years, I didn't know if it would work..I fired three rounds, and that was the end of it," says Agosto.

    All four suspects were hit. Two men identified as Raylin Footmon and James Morgan were killed.

    Police found the other two suspects nearby. They were arrested and taken to the hospital. Charges against them were pending.

    But for Agosto, whose son shot himself to death a dozen years ago, there is no sense of relief.

    The sidewalk outside the Harlem store still was smeared with blood Friday, and the glass on the door still was blown out.

    Reactions to the shooting were mixed. Above the entrance, someone had scribbled the words, "Abandon hope all ye who enter here" -- an inscription taken from Dante's "Inferno."

    Frida Rodriguez called it "a sad day" for the neighborhood.

    Augusto "was defending his work, his business, so you could perceive that as being heroic," she said. "But on the other hand, these kids died."

    Web Produced By: Scott Curkin


    MORE NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

    USEFUL LINKS:
    SEND TIP OR PHOTO  || REPORT TYPO ||  GET WIDGET

     EYEWITNESS TWITTER ||  FIND US ON FACEBOOK


  • Load Comments