Copiague Man Gets 75 Years In Prison For Shooting 4 Men In Deli: DA

COPIAGUE, NY —A Copiague man was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison on Thursday, after a jury found him guilty of opening fire inside a deli and killing two men, Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced.

Dionicio Calderon, 65, was convicted last month of second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, two counts of second-degree attempted murder, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, prosecutors said.

On December 12, 2020, Calderon walked into La Vaquita deli, located at 2340 Great Neck Road at 6 p.m., according to evidence established at trial.

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After drinking for a while and without any warning, he pulled out a 9 mm handgun and started shooting, prosecutors said.

First, he shot 47-year-old Manuel Cruz Hernandez, a customer, multiple times in his head and body. Calderon then turned the gun on 61-year-old Bolivar Rodriguez, the deli owner, shooting him once in the head, officials said.

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Calderon continued to fire his weapon, striking two other customers: 40-year-old Daniel Acosta, who was struck once in the torso; and 30-year-old Juan Avila Roque, who was struck in the left arm and chest.

Hernandez and Rodriguez both died as a result of their injuries, prosecutors said.Acosta and Roque were hospitalized for about two weeks for their injuries.

The entire incident was captured on high-definition surveillance video.

Calderon was apprehended hours later leaving his house with cash, jewelry, and a suitcase full of
clothing, authorities said.

He was still wearing the sweatshirt that he had on during the shooting, which subsequently tested positive for gunshot residue.

During the execution of a search warrant, law enforcement officers found the 9 mm handgun used in the shooting hidden on Calderon’s property.

During the defense case, Calderon took the stand to testify and admitted to shooting multiple
people inside the deli, claiming he had been threatened.

On cross-examination, Calderon admitted that he purchased the gun illegally off the street, and that no one else in the deli had weapons. He also admitted that he could have just walked out of the deli, but he chose not to, prosecutors said.

“It’s hard to even fathom the terror the victims in this case faced when this defendant opened fire,” said District Attorney Tierney. “This is a just sentence for the crimes he committed, and now the defendant will have to live with the consequence of his ruthless actions while in prison for the remainder of his life.”

Ian Fitzgerald, Calderon’s attorney, told Patch that the men in the deli were threatening him, and Calderon attempted to leave the establishment.

He also said Calderon had no intention to shoot Rodriguez.

“We respect the jury’s verdict,” Fitzgerald said.

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