By Patrick Markey
New York detectives hunting for the killer of an Irish immigrant gunned down in Queens last year have turned to the television media for help after months of investigations have brought them no closer to catching the accused triggerman.
Detectives from the NYPD’s 108th Precinct in Queens have to asked cable station NY1 and Channel 11 Crime Stoppers program to broadcast details of the murder of Francis O’Loughlin, who was fatally shot inside a Sunnyside bar in September, police said.
Police said Miguel Valerio, a former employee at the Mad Ass Tavern where the murder occurred, allegedly shot O’Loughlin, a 32-year-old Kilkenny native who worked as a carpenter with his brother.
With the NY1 broadcast scheduled for Wednesday and the Crime Stoppers program likely to broadcast next week, investigators hope the added exposure of Valerio’s photograph could bring in tips about his whereabouts.
Detectives have already contacted their counterparts in the Dominican Republic and in Puerto Rico to establish whether Valerio may have fled to either of those locations, police said.
Follow us on social media
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo
Investigators believe the two men may have been involved in a dispute over O’Loughlin’s girlfriend on the night of the shooting. O’Loughlin and Valerio argued briefly again just before the incident, police said. Valerio left the bar and then returned shortly afterward.
When O’Loughlin entered the bathroom at the back of the bar in the early hours of the morning, Valerio followed him in and allegedly shot him once in the back of the head, police said.
For O’Loughlin’s father, the news brings a flicker of hope after months of waiting.
"Certainly they should put it on TV. They should do everything they can to catch him," Sean O’Loughlin said during a telephone interview from his Kilkenny home.
"This man is a danger. He shot an unarmed man in the back of the head, and he could plunge another family into grief like he did to our family."
While certain that the detectives are using all resources at their disposal to track his son’s killer, O’Loughlin wonders how the fugitive managed to escape.
"I can’t understand how he got away," he said.