Robbery attempt leaves 2 dead at a gas station

November 17, 1992|By Michael James and David Michael Ettlin | Michael James and David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writers

The owner of a Catonsville gas station and a West Baltimore man who allegedly tried to rob him killed each other last night in a rapid exchange of gunfire, Baltimore County police said.

Daniel Leighton Heiser, 47, owner of Heiser's Sunoco on Baltimore National Pike near Rolling Road, was pronounced dead at St. Agnes Hospital about an hour after the 8:30 p.m. shooting.

Several bystanders gathered near the gas station to watch police and stare at the robber, Theodore Richard Bundley, 23, of the 200 block of N. Edgewood St., lying dead on a step at the door of a small convenience store at the site which was also run by Mr. Heiser and his family.

"This is why no gun control laws will be passed in Maryland," said one spectator, James Bergman, 20, a Catonsville resident and gas station customer.

"You can't blame people for having guns. A lot of these crooks are amateurs who are trigger-happy."

The robbery was witnessed by a 19-year-old nephew of Mr. Heiser, who dove for cover when the gunfire erupted, police said.

The nephew told police that he had told Mr. Heiser moments before the holdup attempt that a suspicious-looking man was using a telephone next to the store and seemed to be "casing" the business.

According to the police, it was Mr. Heiser who fired the first shot -- apparently pulling out his .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol after the gun-wielding suspect walked inside and announced the holdup.

Mr. Heiser was hit two or three times in the chest by Bundley's .357-caliber Magnum handgun.

The robber also was hit two or three times and staggered back out the door of the convenience store, collapsing on his back.

The station owner, who lived in the 3100 block of Sunset Lane in Phoenix, was in cardiac arrest as paramedics took him by ambulance to St. Agnes Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:26 p.m.

Police, using keys from the robber's pocket, found a Nissan Maxima he had left parked on a Denny's restaurant parking lot -- running distance from the gas station.

Louis Korologos, co-owner of the nearby Double-T diner, who knew Mr. Heiser, acknowledged that he also keeps a gun on hand in the event one is needed -- but he questioned the wisdom of using one during a robbery.

"In my opinion, you should just give the robbers whatever they ask for," he said. "You never know what's going to happen.

"What are they going to get? Just money. And my life is worth more than just money."

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