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Attempted murder charges dropped against accused downtown, Polish Town shooter

VERA CHINESE FILE PHOTO | Two Riverhead Town police officers lead Juan Sotos Pixtun to town justice court on Nov. 11

Attempted murder charges town police leveled against an 18-year-old Guatemalan immigrant in relation to two separate shootings in Riverhead last month were dropped by a grand jury that reviewed the case, court records show.

Instead, Juan Soyos-Pixtun, who was indicted in Suffolk County Criminal Court, will be facing a top charge of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, which could land him behind bars for 5 to 15 years, said Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota.

Mr. Soyos-Pixtun is facing a slew of assault and weapons charges in relations to a Nov. 4 shooting of a man on West Main Street and another one Nov. 10 in Polish Town, where he’s accused of shooting Edgar Bautista, in the leg.

Mr. Bautista was found by police at the scene, lying on the floor. Mr. Soyos-Pixtun was arrested soon after on attempted murder and other charges. The criminal complaint read that he yelled, “I kill you!” before firing a 9-mm and striking Mr. Bautista on Pulaski Street, according to a witness.

The West Main Street victim, Oscar Alvarado, had left the scene checked himself into Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment.

Mr. Soyos-Pixtun was arraigned Nov. 22 in county court, but that news didn’t come to light until Wednesday, when at an ILoveRiverhead civic meeting Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller assured residents concerned with downtown area crime that an arrest was made for the two recent shootings, but that the attempted murder charges were downgraded.

Mr. Soyos-Pixtun, who had just become a U.S. citizen in December 2010, Mr. Clifford said, is now being held in county court on $50,000 bail.

“The grand jury reviewed the evidence, it carefully listened to testimony and elected to charge the defendant with assault and weapons possessions charges,” Mr. Clifford explained.

The top assault charge, second degree assault, carries a 2 to 7-year sentence, he said, adding, “These are two incidents with two separate people and two dates, so it’s possible he could serve consecutive sentences, which would take him up to 4 to 14 years.”

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