Sunday, December 19, 2004

Cleveland grocer, 71, returns fire, kills robber

Shooting is second in a week on West Side; 2 suspects arrested

A West Side grocer shot and killed a robber who came into his store Thursday night. It was the second robbery in a West Side store this week that erupted in gunfire. Monday night at Tony's Delicatessen on Scranton Road, a clerk and a customer were killed. Store owners have been on edge since that double killing. The latest shooting occurred about 7:30 p.m. at George's Market at 10117 Detroit Ave. A man police believe was Jesse Buchanan, 19, of Lakewood, walked in with a gun, demanding money and threatening the five people inside. Nadim Shalamy, 71, of Lakewood, shot the robber in the head. The robber had himself fired at least one shot, witnesses said. "He shot a shot, and he missed, and my father didn't miss," said Jeff Shalamy. "If my father didn't shoot him, he would've killed all of them."

Police arrested two men they think were outside the store in a getaway car. The names of the two men were not released. Bridget Halgen, Jeff Shalamy's fianc�e, said the robber had been in the store several times before the shooting. "The guy came into the store seven or eight times," she said. "He kept coming in and leaving. The last time he came in [before the shooting], he bought a 99-cent bottle of malt liquor."

Jenny Napier of Lakewood, who shops at the store, said she was upset that Nadim Shalamy was forced to defend his shop. She said he is known as "Pops" in the neighborhood and often extends credit to shoppers who need it. The Shalamys have owned the store for 14 years. "They're good people," she said.

Homicide detectives immediately began investigating. Facts in the shooting will go to prosecutors, who will rule on whether the shooting was justifiable. Police Lt. Linda Kaspar said that investigators will look closely at whether the two men arrested at George's Market could be among the three suspects still being sought in the two killings at Tony's Deli.

Gunmen killed Tony's clerk Jorge Santiago, 36, and customer Rebecca Cordoves, 21, who was buying formula for her newborn.

Jenny Shalamy said the family has been worried since the shooting on Scranton Road. They kept two guns - a shotgun and a handgun - in the store. She said it seems stores get robbed more in December, around Christmas. "After what happened on Scranton, [my father] has been concerned," she said. "December is the worst month to have a store."



A man has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for fatally shooting his friend through a protective vest on an apparent dare, police said. Alexander Joseph Swandic, 20, died of a gunshot wound to the heart Monday after donning a protective vest and asking David John Hueth, 30, to shoot him, police said. Hueth initially told police that Swandic's wound was self-inflicted, but later admitted to the shooting. The two had apparently tested the vest by propping it against a dirt bank and shooting it twice, police said.

Police said the vest was designed to protect against grenade fragments, not bullets. Swandic was pronounced dead at a local hospital following the shooting. Hueth faces a preliminary hearing on Dec. 27. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.


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