Timothy Summerville was preparing to sell about five pairs of shoes to a customer late yesterday afternoon when an unfamiliar set of hooves trotted through an open door into his store.
Once he came in, all eyes were on him," Summerville, assistant manager of Comfort One Shoes in the 6000 block of Falls Road near Mount Washington, said of the unexpected visitor -- a white-tail deer weighing about 120 pounds and not behaving very well.
FOR THE RECORD - Based on faulty information from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, an article in yesterday's late editions incorrectly reported the fate of a deer that was captured after running into a shoe store. In fact, DNR wildlife official Karina Blizzard said yesterday that the buck was found not severely injured and was released on private property at a location she declined to divulge.
The Sun regrets the error.
Seconds later, Summerville's customer sprinted out of the store carrying only her own shoes as the three-point yearling buck ran to the back of the store, crashing into several walls along the way.
"I'm a grown man, and I was scared," Summerville said.
Baltimore County police arrived, and in turn called for professional help from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and county Animal Control.
Help did not arrive quickly, as Summerville and a group of onlookers and news crews waited outside nearly two hours -- the buck all the while staying out of sight in the back room, not damaging a single shoe but making a mess of empty boxes.
Around the region, deer have been coming out of the woods in increasing numbers in recent weeks -- during the fall mating season -- and having occasional encounters with civilization or cars.
On Oct. 26, a young deer was captured after visiting two high-end boutiques in the trendy Washington neighborhood of Georgetown. On Thursday, an adult buck smashed a window and roamed the aisles of a Giant supermarket and video game store in Germantown before it was shot dead by a police officer.
The shoe-shop deer did not fare well, either.
The animal specialists arrived about 7 p.m. and spent more than a half-hour inside, using a tranquilizer gun to down the buck. It was carried out wrapped in cloth -- to the disappointment of spectators.
DNR spokeswoman Megan A. Evans said the deer's injuries were too severe for it to survive in the wild and that it had to be destroyed.
The back room was left strewn with torn and bloodied cardboard boxes, and a wall in the front of the store was also bloodied. But other than the mess, Summerville said, "There was no damage."
Summerville called his bosses to report that the deer was gone. "I'm calling everybody to let them know the store is free of critters," he said.
Sun reporter Richard Irwin contributed to this report.