NYC Shop Owner With Concealed Carry Permit Faces 7 Years For Defense Against Thief's Attack

AP Photo/Steven Senne, File

NYC shop owner Francisco Valerio, 53, is facing up to seven years in prison for defending himself against the attack of a would-be thief. 

In the video caught by security cameras, two suspects, Edwin Poaquiza and 20-year-old Kevin Pullatasi, are seen in a liquor store and Poaquiza is shown trying to smuggle a bottle of alcohol. The owner forces the two out of the store and Pullatasi rushes back at a store worker to punch him. Words are exchanged, then the assailant drops his backpack and again rushes at the worker, kicking and punching. 


At this moment Valerio, a licensed conceal carry owner, pushes the man out of the store and attempts to pistol whip him. In the process, Pullatasi was accidentally shot. He recovered from his injuries. 

Poaquiza and Pullatisi were charged with petit larceny and store owner Valerio has been charged with assault in the second and third degrees, reckless endangerment in the first degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.

Even though the video footage of the incident clearly shows the store owner acting in self-defense and not intentionally firing the weapon, he is being charged just like the other criminals. 

"All three of the defendants in this incident will have to answer charges against them," Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement.

Neighbors reportedly have rallied for his support. 

Crime in NYC has been the highest it's been in two decades, according to recent reports. Many blame weak bail policies, namely the controversial 2019 bail reforms that prohibit a judge from setting bail on misdemeanors and many other non-violent felony cases. 

Law-abiding store owners and gun owners should have the protection of their city. In 2022, a similar case occurred when bodega worker Joe Alba, 61 at the time, was assaulted and defended himself with a knife. He was eventually cleared, but not after being sent to Rikers. 

Fernando Mateo, the founder of United Bodegas of America, has come to the defense of Valerio.


"Frequent flier thieves must be stopped, we have the right to defend ourselves, our businesses and our communities," Mateo told Fox News Digital via a statement. "District attorneys must stop prosecuting victims and charging criminals when they commit crimes."

"Francisco Valerio is a licensed gun owner, has been married for 30 years, has two children and is a Columbia graduate. He is a liquor store owner and a member of the 83rd precinct community, he will lose everything he has worked for if prosecuted," Mateo said. 

The citizens of NYC must hold their elected officials accountable to a higher standard for reducing crime on the streets, supporting our law enforcement, and supporting law-abiding citizens. If officials continue to cater to criminals above all else, that is what you will get– a city of criminals. 


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