Market Owner: “This Is The Best Neighborhood”

The owner of a market in the Hill was closing up shop around 11:40 p.m. Tuesday when a masked robber threatened him at gunpoint.

Thus began a series of events that ended with the alleged robber being shot to death.

It began as the owner was closing down Congress Mini-Market at 750 Congress Ave.

The owner, who is of Puerto Rican heritage and who declined to be named, told the Independent Wednesday that the masked robber displayed a gun, threatened him, then fled because a crowd had gathered.

The owner called the police. They came to take a report.

As the police were at the market, the owner got a call from the nearby Nino’s Mini-Market, which he also owns. His brother was working at Nino’s, at 659 Washington Ave. He called the owner to report that a masked gunman had just come to rob him. The brother reported that he had shot the gunman, according to police reports.

Police went to Nino’s, where they found the alleged robber, shot in the chest. The man — as yet unidentified — was taken by ambulance to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:19 a.m., according to police spokesman Officer David Hartman. The man was later identified as Christian Munoz, who was 19 years old.

Detectives are interviewing the shooter. “We’re not charging him” as of now, Assistant Police Chief Archie Generoso said Wednesday morning. He said the alleged robber was carrying a rifle.

Back at Congress Mini-Mart around 10:15 a.m., the owner waited for police to return for further questioning as he served customers. He said he has had the two stores for only a month and a half. Nino’s, a crime scene, remained closed.

Despite these events, the owner said he doesn’t believe the area has excessive crime.

“I grew up here. I have nothing bad to say about it,” he said. “My neighbors love the store. This is the best neighborhood in New Haven.”

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posted by: LookOut on August 6, 2014  12:54pm

sad that it has to come to actions like this but if the city and state continue their along their current failed policy path, sometimes its the only way.  I’ll bet that word on the street travels fast and Nino’s isn’t targeted again any time soon.

posted by: TrumanStreetResident on August 6, 2014  2:38pm

To the owner of Congress Market and Nino’s Market - I am so sorry to hear of your recent threats, but glad to hear that you are not physically injured. I will keep your brother in prayer because of the trauma he’s had to experience. I am glad to hear that the neighbors came to your aid and that you have faith in this community. We will also pray for the family of the deceased, but thank you for your support of the neighborhood. We will stop by and show your brother some love when the store reopens.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on August 6, 2014  9:32pm

Love the neighborhood boosterism despite the traumatic event.  Robbery should not equal death but it certainly sends a message.  Hopefully the message is not, “be prepared to shoot when you’re robbing a store.”

posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on August 7, 2014  2:12pm

No, Mr. Berkowitz, the message is if you live by the sword be sure to know that others protect themselves with the same sword so you may die if you provoke them into defending their life and property. So, don’t provoke them!

Timothy G. O’Rourke Jr.
718 Congress Avenue
The Hill