On Saturday, August 4, the Burger King Restaurant at 144 New Britain Road, Berlin, was robbed at gunpoint by two masked men. During the robbery, one of the suspects leapt over the front counter and confronted the Burger King staff. The robber grabbed one individual who had attempted to hide, gathered together the remaining employees and with his handgun pointed at them, directed the employees to the rear of the restaurant while demanding to know who the manager was and the whereabouts of the restaurant’s safe.
Yadira Velazquez, a longtime employee and the assistant manager responsible for the Burger King evening shift staff, stepped forward and identified herself. Upon doing so, the perpetrator isolated Ms. Velazquez in the restaurant office and instructed her to open the safe. In a calm and collected manner, Ms. Velazquez complied with the suspect’s demands and opened the safe. As recorded by the security surveillance video of the incident, Ms. Velazquez can be seen assuring and calming the agitated suspect and in so doing, effectively ensuring the safety of her fellow Burger King Restaurant employees. Ms. Velazquez remained composed and attentive despite the imminent threat to her life that she surely must have felt as the suspect pointed his handgun directly into her face at close range.
In recognition of the bravery and courageous behavior that she demonstrated under duress, Ms. Velazquez is commended for her civic valor. The professionalism and calm demeanor that she demonstrated when faced with this crisis is extraordinary and undoubtedly contributed to the safety of herself and her coworkers.
Ms. Velazquez was presented with the Berlin Police Department Chief’s Achievement Award by Berlin Police Commission Chairman Joseph Annunziata at the Commission’s meeting on December 5.