Charges unlikely against grocer who killed alleged robber in store

March 09, 1993|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Staff Writer

Criminal charges apparently won't be filed against the Northwest Baltimore grocery store owner who fatally shot an alleged armed robber Saturday night, a police spokesman said yesterday.

Meanwhile, police community relations specialists continue to monitor the community following the attempted firebombing of the grocery store about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, 24 hours after the shooting.

The police investigation of the shooting "seems to indicate the grocer was defending himself and it doesn't look like charges will be filed against him," said Sam Ringgold, a police spokesman.

The merchant, Hyong Kun Pak, 44, owner of the B & K Market in the 3000 block of Wylie Ave., fatally shot Donald Lee Baker, 18, of the 4600 block of Reisterstown Road, during an alleged robbery attempt Saturday night, police said.

On Sunday night, a plastic bottle containing gasoline was thrown onto the roof of the grocery store. The firebomb ignited but caused only minor damage, firefighters and police said.

Mr. Pak, a Glen Burnie resident, has closed his store for several days "because he is upset over killing someone. . . . It was not an easy thing for him to shoot somebody," said Officer Nam Hyun Kim of the police community relations section.

According to the police account, Mr. Baker entered the store about 11:30 p.m. Saturday, grabbed Mr. Pak's partner, Yun Dok Koo, 57, and placed a gun to his neck.

Police said that while the two men scuffled, Mr. Pak reached under the counter for his gun, a .357-caliber Magnum revolver. Mr. Pak told police that Mr. Koo stooped down and Mr. Pak fired.

"I didn't even know if I had hit him. I yelled 'Drop the gun, drop the gun,' " Mr. Pak told police. "Then he dropped the gun and fell down and I saw the blood coming from his neck."

Mr. Baker was pronounced dead at the scene. Officer Kim said the grocer suspected Mr. Baker of having robbed him on Dec. 29.

"There seems to be little or no tension in the community" because Mr. Pak, in the 12 years he has owned the grocery store, "had good communication with the people there, he got along with the community," the officer said.

"In a high-crime area like that, that's pretty remarkable. In this case, it looks like the grocery store owner got along with the community."

Althea McCrea, who lives nearby and has friends in the neighborhood, said "people like the man who owns the store and folks are getting sick and tired" of crime in the city.

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