Charles Augusto’s business had been a repeat target for violent criminals.
In 2009, four gunmen burst into Kaplan Brothers Blue Flame Corp. in Harlem, demanding cash and threatening and pistol-whipping an employee. The brazen daytime holdup mirrored a robbery at the commercial oven dealer 20 years earlier, which itself was followed by several muggings of employees off-site as they made deliveries and dropped off bank deposits.
But this time, Augusto, a 75-year-old Irvington resident, wasn’t “defenseless.” Fearing for his and his employee’s lives, he grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun he purchased after the first robbery and fired on the gunmen, killing two and injuring two others.
“Either I’m going to kill them or they’re going to kill me,” Augusto recalled recently, sitting in his hilltop home near Irvington High School. “I didn’t like doing that. I didn’t have any choice.”
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