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After a central-city barber shop owner was shot in broad daylight during an attempted robbery yesterday, some nearby business owners were re-evaluating their own on-the job safety precautions.
Leslie "Marcus" Averill, 33, of West Toledo was shot by the person who appeared to be his next customer, police said.
Averill was giving another man a haircut at 11:15 a.m. inside Fate's Neighborhood Barber Beauty and Nail Shop, 3433 Monroe St. Sgt. Phil Toney said Averill, who remained in critical condition last night in Toledo Hospital, buzzed the shooter past the establishment's locked door, thinking he wanted a haircut. Instead, the man announced he was there to rob Averill and the man in his barber's chair.
While holding a gun to Averill, the perpetrator let one to three
acaccomplices inside to help him, the sergeant said. A struggle ensued. Averill was shot in the chest but was able to call 911.
His customer, whose name was not released, was taken to a back room and robbed. He was not injured, Sergeant Toney said.
Averill and the shooter apparently did not know each other.
"It appears to be a random robbery, and things didn't go well," Sergeant Toney said.
The suspects all wore black clothes. Police believe as few as two and as many as four men were involved. There were no security cameras inside Averill's barber shop, authorities said.
Owners and managers of nearby businesses said violence in the area is rare.
A block away at Petro's Express Food and Fuel, owner Yazeed Qaimari said he was surprised and saddened to hear about the incident. The Qaimari family has owned businesses at the corner of Monroe and Auburn since the 1970s, he said, and was robbed at gunpoint once. His cousin Tim Hassan, 22, was shot and killed during the November, 1993, robbery at Lee's Food Market, 3378 Monroe.
He's heard of no other violent incidents nearby since then.
Shonnie Wallace, a manager who stood behind a bulletproof barrier at Adams Laundry & Cleaners, 3401 Monroe, said she was terrified to hear about the shooting. "I ride through that parking lot every day," she said.
Ms. Wallace said she couldn't help being nervous, though she is protected by security cameras and the barrier. Her business has never been robbed, and she didn't remember any other robberies nearby. What happened to Averill was "really shocking," she said.
Tuk Mellon, owner of T&Y Beauty Supply next door to Averill's shop, said yesterday was the first time she questioned her own security. Though T&Y has been broken into after hours since she bought the business early last year, nothing was taken. Ms. Mellon said the business has never been robbed during working hours.
The "open" sign remained lit in the shop window after investigators left the scene, and blood on the floor of the lobby was visible from the front window.
Family and friends approached the shop as they learned of the shooting.
"I'm shocked. I'm kind of speechless right now," his cousin Wes Jennings said. "We're really close."
Averill was known as "Marc" or "Marcus" to those close to him. He is a father of three, and his girlfriend is expecting twins this week, said Reginald Berry, who identified himself as brother to Averill's girlfriend.
Averill has owned Fate's for nearly a decade and relocated it from Berdan and Upton avenues two years ago, Mr. Berry said.
"Why would he get shot?" Mr. Berry said. "He's had no problems this whole time."
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