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Published: Monday, 11/4/2013 - Updated: 10 months ago

West Toledo rattled by shooting

Clerk kills would-be robber in Sylvania Avenue carryout

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Editor's note: This article has been updated as of 11:18 a.m. Nov. 4.

The crime scene tape is gone from the Stop & Go convenience store in the 3100 block of  West Sylvania Avenue. The would-be robber was a resident of a halfway house in North Toledo. The crime scene tape is gone from the Stop & Go convenience store in the 3100 block of West Sylvania Avenue. The would-be robber was a resident of a halfway house in North Toledo.
THE BLADE/JEFFREY SMITH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Sunday afternoon it was clear that something bad happened at a West Toledo carryout.

A trash can outside the store at 3131 W. Sylvania Ave. was nearly full of crime scene tape.

Bits of the bright yellow and black ribbon were still tied to a street sign and a bright blue post near the back of the store.

“You’ve got to protect your life anymore,” said Mike Ray, who has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years, as he was leaving the store on Sunday.

“If it’s me or someone else, it’s not gonna be me.”

Saturday night, Christopher Shockley, who police said intended to rob the store, shot the store clerk, December Long, and was fatally shot by Ms. Long.

Police declined to say who fired first.

RELATED: Autopsy shows single gunshot wound killed robber

Ms. Long, 29, was admitted to Toledo Hospital for surgery after the 9:23 p.m. shootout.

A hospital spokesman said today that the hospital has no information about a patient named December Long.

A Toledo police unusual incident report states that, when police arrived, Shockley was found shot near the front door and Ms. Long was at the back of the store with "gunshot wounds" to her abdomen.

A woman working at the West Toledo Stop & Go on Sunday declined to comment.

Store owner Dan Ridi could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Ray, who rides his bicycle to and from the store, described Ms. Long as “real nice and friendly. Hard-nosed. She doesn’t take guff from anybody.”

Shockley, 28, was pronounced dead at Toledo Hospital.

An autopsy is scheduled for today.

Toledo police listed Shockley’s address as 1201 Champlain St., a halfway house, where inmates undergo supervised transition from incarceration to reacclimating themselve to society.

A woman who answered the phone at the Volunteers of America halfway house in North Toledo deferred comment to the director, who was not available.

On Oct. 19, Shockley was “released from work” at the Ability Center of Greater Toledo, said Executive Director Timothy Harrington. Shockley worked for the center for about a year training dogs to work with disabled people but stopped showing up for work and was fired.

“Chris came highly recommended,” Mr. Harrington said.

“He loved dogs and he was very good with dogs.”

Mr. Harrington said Shockley had no contact with people who received dogs from the program.

Shockley Shockley
Enlarge

According to a short biography on the center’s Web site, Shockley started as a volunteer with the Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence program.

Mr. Harrington said Shockley received training for dog-handling while he was incarcerated at the Toledo Correctional Institution.

Shockley’s biography states he started school in Snow Hill, Md., but graduated from a Baltimore school.

“I like dogs a lot and feel at peace around them,” he wrote.

It was not clear on Sunday why Shockley was incarcerated.

JoEllen Smith, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, could not be reached on her cell phone. Ms. Smith was unable to answer questions via email by press time.

Maryland court records show that Shockley, in 2002, was sentenced to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to theft.

In 2003, he was charged in a Maryland court with being a fugitive from justice.

The Stop & Go has been robbed four times since the beginning of the year. It was robbed twice in October, and once each in May and February.

Councilman Tom Waniewski, whose district encompasses the store and surrounding neighborhood, said he found out about the shooting through a text message from a resident while in Reno for his brother’s birthday.

The carryout also is in the heart of the long-planned walkable business corridor, spearheaded by Mr. Waniewski, the Sylvania Avenue Mile, which would stretch between Secor and Douglas roads.

Making the area more friendly to foot traffic could keep crime down, the councilman said.

“People see other people out in the neighborhood and it becomes, in essence, a built-in security system,” Mr. Waniewski said.

Mr. Waniewski said he plans to meet with the owners of carryouts in his district to find out what can be done to make them safer and less-attractive targets for criminals.

He does not believe carryouts bring crime into neighborhoods — that’s the doing of criminals, he said.

“Are the carryouts now the old west where everybody has got the gun and whoever shoots first and fastest is going to win?” he said. “I don’t know. We’ve got some great businesses in that area.”

The councilman said crime rates in his district are still fairly low compared to other districts, but he worries that the severity of the shooting will make residents, and those considering moving in, fearful.

“Does something like this worry me? Yes, it does because I don’t want that perception. It seems we take one step forward and something like this happens and we take three steps back.”

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com, 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.



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