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Published: Friday, 3/12/2010

South Toledo store owner shoots man during apparent robbery


A store owner at the Allied Music of Ohio in South Toledo shot a man Friday after the suspect held a gun to a clerk's head, police said.

Toledo police early Friday afternoon responded to the store at 2027 South Byrne Rd. near Heatherdowns Boulevard on a report of an attempted robbery and a person shot.

Sgt. Phil Toney said the suspect entered the store asking about getting a job there. He left but returned a few minutes later and allegedly held a gun to the clerk's head. As the suspect led the clerk to a back room, the clerk called out "I need help" and a co-owner, Eric Bilger, appeared with a gun.

Gunfire was exchanged.

The suspect, Steve James, 30, of Toledo, who was the only one shot, was struck in the body and hand, Sergeant Toney said.

The man then fled the store and ran across Byrne Road to the Burger King parking lot, where he collapsed. Police said he was transported to the University of Toledo Medical Center, formerly the Medical College of Ohio Hospital, where he was listed in serious condition.

Police were issuing an aggravated robbery warrant for Mr. James.

Mark Bilger, who co-owns the store with his brother, said they have been robbed three times since last summer. He said it was fortunate his brother got a carrying a concealed weapon permit and had a gun.

"I am very happy that my brother is safe," Mr. Bilger said Neither Eric Bilger nor the clerk was injured.

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