Alexander J. Pozantidis, 44, was shot twice in the arm. One of the shots struck him near his rib cage. “He’s very lucky to be alive,” said James Hall, commander of the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation based in Batavia.
Now, police are searching for the assailant.
Pozantidis had just closed up his restaurant, a popular family eatery at 5711 Transit Road in Clarence, and was walking to the parking lot with a briefcase filled with cash from the day’s business when he was approached by the gunman, Hall said.
The gunman demanded the briefcase and investigators said Pozantidis complied. Then the gunman fired two shots and fled with the money.
Investigators said Pozantidis did not resist and did everything the gunman asked.
“It looks like he shot him even after he turned over the briefcase,” Hall said. “We don’t know why.”
At the time of the shooting, Pozantidis’ wife, whose name was not released, was in the parking lot waiting for her husband when she heard the shots. She ran to him, found him wounded and went into the restaurant to call 911 for help, police said.
Pozantidis was taken to Erie County Medical Center. His injuries were not considered life-threatening and he was listed in stable condition, police said
As the restaurant reopened to business Monday morning, police investigators were examining video surveillance footage and pursuing leads. The restaurant was packed with customers early Monday afternoon.
“This is terrible,” said Teresa LaFave, who was arriving for lunch with her husband, Paul. “Alex is a friendly, outgoing guy, and everything he does is geared to making his restaurant a friendly, welcoming place. That’s what makes this so shocking.”
Police asked anyone with information regarding the crime to call (716) 759-6831.