Surveillance video released after shoplifting suspect shot outside Queens liquor store

WABC logo
Thursday, May 23, 2024
Calls to clear liquor store owner charged with shooting alleged robber
Family and friends are calling for a Queens liquor store owner to be cleared of charges.

RIDGEWOOD, Queens (WABC) -- Surveillance video was released Wednesday showing a liquor store owner shooting a shoplifting suspect in Queens.

The store's surveillance video shows two young men walking in and splitting up inside Franja Wines and Liquors on Wyckoff Avenue.

One of them tries to steal a large liquor bottle right in front of the camera, but owner Francisco Valerio and his brother Luis are onto them grabbing them and telling the would-be thieves to get lost.

Francisco's other brother Miguel, who wasn't there Monday when this happened, says the young men were familiar.

"It's been bad. We've been dealing with these guys all the time. And all the time, we ask them to leave. But this time was different," Miguel Valerio said.

This time they didn't leave without trying to fight. One throws down his bag and comes back kicking at Luis Valerio in the doorway.

"Francisco did not know what he had in his hand. Could've been a gun, could've been a knife," Fernando Mateo of the United Bodegas of America said at a press conference Wednesday night.

But it was Fransisco who had a gun that he told investigators he wanted to use to smack his brother's attacker, but he accidentally fired it, wounding the 20-year-old man.

He's expected to recover and face assault and petit larceny charges, but Francisco Valerio is charged with more serious counts of felony reckless endangerment and assault for the shooting.

"If he has to go to jail, I don't know what the kids are going to do," Francisco's wife, Jael Valerio, said.

Family and neighbors, with the support of the United Bodegas of America, urged the Queens DA not to prosecute the 53-year-old father who has no criminal record.

"New York is our witness. We're not asking the District attorney for anything that's not fair," Mateo said.

Francisco Valerio had a concealed carry permit for his gun, as many New York liquor store owners do. A jury could find him not guilty of the charges. But if he's convicted, his supporters say he could lose his business and everything he's worked for for 13 years. They want the DA to drop the charges.

"Do the right thing by him. He's one of the good ones," Jael Valerio said.

ALSO READ | Celebrity chef evicted from NYC apartment, landlord says he hasn't paid rent in years

N.J. Burkett has the story from Brooklyn.


* More Queens news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.