LAURELTON, N.Y. (WPIX)—Police are looking for the man who shot and killed the beloved owner of the Lucky Grocery & Deli store on Merrick Boulevard in Queens.
Juan Torres, 54, of Cypress Hills, Brooklyn was shot and killed in front of his family during an apparent robbery Saturday night, the third time someone has been killed while tending the family store.
Torres' brother Jesus was gunned down during a 1999 robbery the family business Ridgewood Deli on Ridgewood Avenue. In 2002, another man, 34-year-old Ramon Adams, who was friends with Torres was also shot and killed during a robbery.
Torres and other immediate family members were closing the store, located at 220-23 Merrick Blvd. in Laurelton around 9:45 p.m. Saturday when the suspect approached his brother, 50-year-old Felix.
According to the family, the robber threw him onto the counter and put a gun top his head. When Torres saw what was happening, he grabbed a hammer and took a step toward the assailant. The robber turned and shot him. Emergency medical technicians pronounced him dead at the scene.
Local residents are mourning Torres' death, many members of the Springfield Gardens community remember him as a kind, generous person who looked out for his customers.
Police are now looking for the suspect, a man in his 30s or 40s who was last seen wearing a black sweatshirt.
Torres emigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic over 20 years ago. He is survived by his 47-year-old wife Berania Jaqueline Torres and their three adult sons, ages 27, 24 and 21.