Baltimore merchant kills man suspected in attempted robbery

Gun used in holdup turned out to be toy

January 12, 2000|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

A Northwest Baltimore store owner shot and killed a man who barged into his appliance store and held what turned out to be a toy gun at an employee's head in an apparent robbery attempt yesterday afternoon, police said.

The unidentified man was shot several times in the head and upper torso and died at the scene, police said.

Store owner Daryl Gamerman shot the attacker about 2 p.m. after he pointed an empty toy cap gun at him and mumbled he wanted a microwave oven, said Agent Ragina Cooper, a Baltimore Police Department spokeswoman.

The attacker stormed into Target Appliance Co. in the 6300 block of Reisterstown Road, knocked an elderly male store employee to the floor, grabbed a female employee and pointed the gun at her head, Cooper said.

Cooper said the man pressed the gun against the woman's head, clicking the trigger several times. The woman fell, and the suspect hovered over her, continuing to point the weapon at her head.

Gamerman emerged from a back room office armed with a 9 mm Glock handgun, police said. When the assailant pointed the gun at Gamerman, the merchant shot him several times, including at least once in the head, police said.

No customers were in the store during the incident, and neither Gamerman nor his five employees were injured, police said.

Gamerman, 40, was questioned by city homicide detectives yesterday, but police said it appeared he acted in self defense. The State's Attorney will investigate and determine if charges are warranted.

Major Zeinab Rabold, the Northwest District police commander, said Gamerman "is a very nice young man who is very involved in the community."

Property records show his father, who was in the store during the incident, opened the appliance store in 1972.

It was unclear yesterday if Gamerman's gun was registered, but friends said yesterday he uses the gun for protection while making appliance deliveries, and he usually wears a bulletproof vest to work.

"He delivers in some rough neighborhoods," said Kevin Anderson, his mailman and friend of 13 years.

Rabold said the business district on upper Reisterstown Road is "very safe" and she does not recommend store owners using guns for protection.

Yesterday's incident was at least the fourth time an armed store owner shot and killed a would-be robber in Baltimore in the last five years.

In November 1998, a Northwest Baltimore store owner was charged with first-degree murder after he shot and killed a man suspected of shoplifting a can of Spam. The 60-year-old store owner later pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and was placed on probation.

Sun staff writer Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

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