Jury finds Dionicio Calderon guilty of murder in shooting deaths of two men in La Vaquita deli in 2020 – Newsday

La Vaquita Corp. deli owner Bolivar Rodriguez and a customer were killed in a December 2020 shooting in the Copiague store. Credit: Provided by son Oscar Rodriguez
A Copiague man is facing 75 years to life in prison after being found guilty of murder in a 2020 deli shooting that left two men dead and two wounded, Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney said.
The shooter, Dionicio Calderon, 65, was found guilty Thursday in a jury trial before County Court Judge Karen M. Wilutis. He was convicted of second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, two counts of second-degree attempted murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He is scheduled to appear back in court for sentencing on March 16.
The attorney for Calderon, Ian T. Fitzgerald of Central Islip, was in court Friday and not immediately available for comment.
During the trial, evidence showed that Calderon walked into the La Vaquita Corp. deli at 2340 Great Neck Rd. in Copiague just after 6 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2020, pulled out a 9 mm handgun and, according to the district attorney's office, started shooting without warning.
He first shot customer Manuel Cruz Hernandez, 47, "multiple times" in the head and body, the district attorney's office said. Then he shot the deli owner, Bolivar Rodriguez, 61, once in the head. Both men died of their injuries.
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The district attorney's office said Calderon then shot two other customers — Daniel Acosta, 40, who was hit once in the torso; and, Juan Avila Roque, 30, who was hit in the left arm and chest — wounding both seriously.
Acosta and Rogue were hospitalized about two weeks for treatment, officials said.
The shooting was captured on high-definition surveillance video.
Calderon was arrested hours later as he left his home with cash, jewelry and a suitcase full of clothing, the district attorney's office said. The district attorney's office said he was still wearing the sweatshirt worn during the shooting, a shirt that later tested positive for gunshot residue.
Police recovered the handgun used in the shooting during the execution of a search warrant at the property.
During the trial, Calderon took the stand and admitted shooting multiple people inside the deli, claiming he had been threatened, the district attorney's office said.
Calderon also admitted, the district attorney's office said, that he'd purchased the gun illegally on the street, that no one else in the deli had a weapon and that he could have also just walked out of the restaurant — instead of shooting the four men inside.
"This defendant opened fire inside a public place with little regard to the consequences of his actions, killing and wounding multiple victims," Tierney said in a statement, adding: "The defendant's outrageously violent conduct in this case should be enough to ensure that he is never released from prison again."
John Valenti, a reporter at Newsday since 1981, has been honored nationally by the Associated Press and Society of the Silurians for investigative, enterprise and breaking news reporting, as well as column writing, and is the author of “Swee'pea,” a book about former New York playground basketball star Lloyd Daniels. Valenti is featured in the Emmy Award-winning ESPN 30-for-30 film “Big Shot.”
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