By Patrick Markey
Detectives investigating the shooting death of an Irish immigrant in Queens have reached out to the public through a segment on the well-known crime program "America’s Most Wanted."
Queens homicide detectives contacted the show as part of their search for Miguel Valerio, the man they charge shot and killed County Kilkenny man Francis O’Loughlin last year after the two men argued in a Sunnyside bar.
The nationally syndicated program broadcasts details of unsolved crimes and has helped bring in tips about fugitives. The O’Loughlin segment, which aired two weeks ago, included a brief interview with the detectives and a conversation with the victim’s father in Ireland.
So far, police say, the feedback has been positive, but has yet to produce a solid lead about Valerio’s whereabouts.
"We’ve had a good response to the program and we’re actively following up all the leads we had. Some were good, others not so good, but we’re looking into them," said one homicide detective involved in the case.
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.
O’Loughlin, a carpenter who immigrated to the U.S. with his brother, was shot once in the back of the head last Sept. 5 inside the bathroom of the Mad Ass Tavern. Police said Valerio, who worked in the bar as a busboy, and O’Loughlin had been involved in a long-running argument. The two men fought again the evening of the shooting.
After the dispute, police said Valerio went home to pick up a handgun. As he left, he told his girlfriend he needed to protect his boss and that she would not she him for a while.
Police said Valerio returned to the bar to wait until the crowds thinned out. When O’Loughlin headed into the bathroom, Valerio followed him in and allegedly shot him once in the head before fleeing.
Police are investigating whether the suspect may have fled to the Dominican Republic, but it is possible he remains in the United States.