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The New York Times, New York City, New York 08/14/09

Monday, August 17, 2009

In broad daylight, four men, one armed with a 9-millimeter pistol, entered the Kaplan Brothers Blue Flame Corporation kitchen supply store in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. Once inside the criminals attempted to handcuff two store employees, and the owner of the store, 72-year-old Charles Augusto Jr. As one of the men was handcuffing an employee, the employee resisted, resulting in the criminal pistol-whipping the employee in the head. After witnessing the criminal’s brutality, Augusto retrieved his 12- gauge shotgun and fired at the robbers. The first round struck and killed the robber armed with the pistol. A second and third shot wounded the other three criminals, one of whom made his way across the street before collapsing and dying before he could reach the hospital. The two other wounded robbers were picked up by police and taken to a local hospital where they are in stable condition. This was not the first time that Augusto’s store has been the target of robbers, a robbery thirty years ago is what prompted him to arm himself. Local residents were supportive of Augusto’s actions, with one stating, “You have to protect your workers and your family. Case closed.” Unfortunately, Augusto may be punished for protecting himself and his employees. New York City’s draconian gun laws require a permit to possess a shotgun, and police are mulling the possibility of charging Augusto with a misdemeanor for failing to obtain one.
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