Thousands Call on Queens D.A. to Drop Felony Charges Against Armed Store Owner – Bearing Arms

Thousands Call on Queens D.A. to Drop Felony Charges Against Armed Store Owner – Bearing Arms

Francisco Valerio is still facing the possibility of serving seven years in a state prison after accidentally shooting one of two men who tried to steal from his liquor store, but thousands of people from New York and beyond are rallying to his defense and demanding Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz drop the charges he’s currently facing. 

Valerio was fighting one of the suspects who had gone after Valerio’s brother when the pistol in his hand discharged, injuring the suspect. Valerio was arrested on felony charges of reckless endangerment and assault; more serious charges than either of the two men who allegedly tried to steal from the shop before assaulting Valerio and his brother. 

Valerio, a father of two, is facing seven years in prison after shooting Kevin Pullutasi, 20, who along with an accomplice tried to steal bottles of liquor at Franja Wines and Liquors in Ridgewood on Monday night.

Valerio and his brother, Luis, grabbed the pair after they allegedly caught the sticky-fingered duo slipping the bottles under their jackets, according to cops and store surveillance footage.

The encounter spilled onto the Wyckoff Avenue pavement, and Pullatasi attacked the brothers just before Valerio stepped outside and took a wild swing with his right hand — which held a handgun.

The pistol went off — and the bullet struck Pullatasi, according to a statement from the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

Authorities rushed him to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he was listed in stable condition.

All three face charges — but Valerio’s two counts of assault are by far the most serious.

Many have come to Valerio’s defense in the days following the bloody confrontation.

Neighbors have told The Post that Valerio and his brother are upstanding members of the community who take care of their customers and run a good business. 

Representatives for the United Bodegas of America claimed Pullutasi and Paiquiza had tried to rob Valerio’s store “numerous times.”

“We are threatened, robbed, assaulted and looted every day, and the bad guys get away with it,” group President Radahmes Rodriguez said. “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.”

Welcome to New York, where judges say there’s no Second Amendment in their courtroom and politicians like Mayor Eric Adams do their damnedest to ensure there’s no right to keep and bear arms anywhere in the five boroughs. 

A Change.org petition asking Queens D.A. Melinda Katz to drop any and all charges against Valerio has now attracted more than 2,000 signatures (including mine), but according to the New York Post, Katz isn’t backing off… at least not yet. As a spokesperson informed the paper, “We will follow the evidence where it leads us and litigate this case, and every other, in a court of law.” 

The evidence shows that Pullutasi and Paiquiza were the initial aggressors and Valerio was acting in defense of his brother when he swiped at Pullutasi. The only reason to pursue felony charges against the shop owner is to send a message to lawful gun owners; you exercise your Second Amendment rights at your own peril. I’m glad to see so many folks are coming to Valerio’s defense, but if Katz won’t do the right thing and drop the charges let’s hope that Valerio finds some supporters in the jury box if and when his case goes to trial. 

Originally Posted on: https://bearingarms.com/camedwards/2024/05/29/thousands-call-on-queens-da-to-drop-felony-charges-against-armed-store-owner-n1225069
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