Variety Store Manager Slain
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Police were searching last night for at least two suspects in the afternoon shooting death of a variety-store manager in Silver Spring and the subsequent carjacking of a cable television repair truck nearby.
Montgomery County police said officers, responding to a report of a shooting at 4:10 p.m., found the body of a 53-year-old man inside Variedades Jenny, a tiny shop on University Boulevard East near Piney Branch Road. Police said they believe he was shot during a robbery.
The carjacking, on a nearby block, was reported about five minutes later. The driver of the cable truck was not hurt.
The stolen vehicle, a Comcast bucket truck, was found less than a mile away in a residential neighborhood across the Prince George's County line.
The incident shut down two lanes of traffic along busy University Boulevard during the afternoon rush hour.
Prince George's police said they were looking for two suspects, one of them wearing a trench coat and baseball cap. One suspect was believed to be armed with a handgun.
Police cruisers lined the block of 12th Avenue in the Langley Park area of Prince George's, where the carjacked truck was found abandoned.
The truck was parked beneath a maple tree, lights still flashing on its roof. K-9 officers and undercover officers milled about, awaiting the arrival of a forensics team. The street, lined with two-story brick homes and apartments, is just off New Hampshire Avenue.
Police and relatives identified the victim as Jorge Villatoro, who had emigrated with his family from the Salvadoran town of El Mogotillo. His adult daughter, Jenny, had purchased the shop for him to manage.
"I'll be missing him every day," said Arnulfo Villatoro, Jorge's brother, speaking outside the store.
The variety store, which serves a largely Spanish-speaking clientele, sits next to a fabric shop and a tattoo parlor in a commercial district of Silver Spring. A sign on the door reads, "Quality merchandise at great prices." The shop sells clothing, perfume, costume jewelry -- nothing of great value, according to Arnulfo Villatoro.
He said nothing appeared to have been taken. "It's happening everywhere, so I'm not surprised," he said.
According to his brother, Jorge Villatoro was well-liked in the social network of immigrants from El Mogotillo, who gather on weekends to celebrate birthdays and to play soccer on a Mogotillo team in an Arlington County league. Villatoro was a team manager.
Villatoro had a grown son and daughter and a wife of 30 years, Guadalupe, as well as six brothers and sisters.
Pedro Dubon, a family friend, said Jorge Villatoro's daughter, Jenny, bought the shop "so they can kind of relax and not work hard."
He said Jorge Villatoro had previously worked in the comparatively laborious field of demolition.
Staff writer Aaron C. Davis contributed to this report.