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Family mourns man fatally shot at Valley Stream mini market

A family photograph of Edwin Lopez, 34, who

A family photograph of Edwin Lopez, 34, who relatives said was fatally shot on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, at AL Mini Market, 91 Ocean Ave. in Valley Stream. Credit: Lopez family

A man fatally shot inside a Valley Stream store late Friday night was mourned Saturday by relatives who said he was the victim of a robbery attempt.

“They killed him. Somebody came to rob him. They didn’t give him a chance,” Marina Castillo, 50, said of her brother-in-law, Edwin Lopez, 34, as she choked back tears outside AL Mini Market at 91 Ocean Ave.

Nassau police late Saturday had not released the identity of the victim or more information, though a news release earlier stated that the shooting was a homicide.

Fifth Precinct patrol officers responded to the store at 10:40 p.m. Friday, where “they discovered a male victim shot,” according to the news release.

The victim was taken to Franklin Hospital and was pronounced dead less than an hour later, at 11:31 p.m., police said.

Alquimeda Lopez, the victim’s brother, owns the store and lives in a semi-attached apartment at the rear.

“I was in the apartment and I heard three gunshots,” he said Saturday. A family friend knocked on his door Friday night and told him about the shooting, he said, and he ran to the store.

“When I came here and opened the door, I saw him on the floor,” Alquimeda Lopez said, sobbing. “I said to the officer, ‘Hurry up,’ because he looked real bad. This is a huge loss.”

Surveillance footage showed two men entering the store, with one walking toward the back where Edwin Lopez was stocking the freezer and one heading to the cash register, relatives said.

The store clerk was seen on tape chasing after the two men with what appeared to be a bottle, family members said. Just as the men were about to leave, at least one of them fired a gun, striking the victim, they said.

Cesar Mitzi, 31, said he was in the store hours earlier on Friday, chatting with Edwin Lopez and others. He came back early Saturday morning for a cup of coffee and ran into investigators, who were searching for clues.

“I asked them what happened and they told me he was dead,” said Mitzi, who called Lopez his best friend. “It’s such a tragedy. Something I can’t even believe.”

Lopez “was such a nice guy,” Mitzi said. “He knew everybody and was kind with everyone.”

Terrence Walsh, 27, lives next door to the store. He said he would laugh and joke around, such as when Lopez left on an errand.

“I told him, ‘Hurry up and get back. I need my beer,’ ” Walsh said. “He was happy-go-lucky. He never caused problems. Never ever. He never had any problems with anybody.”

Homicide Squad detectives urged anyone with information to call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-8477. All calls will be kept confidential.

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