(SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney today announced that Dionicio Calderon, 65, was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison after a jury found him guilty last month of opening fire inside a Copiague deli and killing two men.
“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.”
The evidence at trial established that shortly after 6 p.m. on December 12, 2020, Calderon walked into La Vaquita deli located at 2340 Great Neck Road in Copiague. After drinking for a while, and without any warning, he pulled out a 9 mm handgun and started shooting. 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. 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. Acosta and Roque were hospitalized for approximately 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. 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 recovered 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. Calderon also admitted that he could have just walked out of the deli, but he chose not to.
On February 9, 2023, Calderon was convicted after a jury trial heard before County Court Judge, the Honorable Karen M. Wilutis, of Murder in the Second Degree, a Class A felony, Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a Class C felony, two counts of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, a Class B violent felony, and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a Class C violent felony. On March 16, 2023, Judge Wilutus sentenced Calderon to a combined 75 years to life in prison. Calderon was represented by Ian Fitzgerald, Esq.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Dena Rizopoulos of the Major Crime Bureau and Bureau Chief Timothy Gough of the Homicide Bureau.
Criminal complaints and indictments are merely accusatory instruments.
Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. No one is above the law.
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