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Published: Tuesday, 3/16/2010

Robbery suspect died of shots to abdomen, chest

Steve A. James, shot in an alleged robbery attempt, is taken from Toledo Municipal Court after his arraignment yesterday. Steve A. James, shot in an alleged robbery attempt, is taken from Toledo Municipal Court after his arraignment yesterday.

A man who was shot to death during an apparent robbery attempt in South Toledo on Sunday died from three gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, an autopsy conducted yesterday showed.

Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a deputy Lucas County coroner, declined to release the name of the 53-year-old man, saying his family had not been notified.

She ruled the death a homicide.

Toledo police said the would-be robber entered Bengals Food Mart, 2625 Airport Hwy., about

10:15 a.m. Sunday wearing a wig and brandishing a handgun. A clerk at the store pulled out a gun and shot him near the store entrance, police said.

Just two days earlier, Eric Bilger, the co-owner of Allied Music of Ohio, 2027 South Byrne Rd., shot and wounded Steve A. James, 30, after he allegedly tried to rob that store.

After being treated at the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital, James was arraigned yesterday on a charge of aggravated robbery in Toledo Municipal Court, where Judge Timothy Kuhlman set bond of $100,000.

James' right hand and upper arm were bandaged and he was shackled to a wheelchair.

Police said James asked about a job before trying to rob the store about 12:30 p.m. Friday. He is accused of holding a gun to the clerk's head before the store owner shot him during the robbery attempt.

James allegedly tried to force clerk Garrett Brown, 42, to a back room. The clerk called out, "I need some help out here," and Mr. Bilger appeared with a gun, police said. Mr. Bilger, who owns the store with his brother, Mark, has a concealed-carry permit.

The bullets pierced James' body and hand, police said. The robbery suspect then ran across Byrne Road to the Burger King parking lot, where he collapsed.

Neither Mr. Bilger nor the clerk was injured.

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