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Sunoco Clerk Kills Would-Be Robber

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- A convenience store clerk shot and killed a 27-year-old armed man attempting to rob a Fort Wayne Sunoco, police said.

Police found Patrick E. Byrd Jr., of Fort Wayne, lying outside, several feet from the entrance, said Michael Joyner, a spokesman for the Fort Wayne police department.

According to police, Byrd was shot in the neck. Paramedics rushed him to an area hospital in critical condition but he died upon arriving, Joyner said.

Joyner said a preliminary investigation indicated Byrd entered the convenience store at 9:47 p.m., flashed a handgun and demanded cash. Instead of following Byrd's orders, the attendant on duty, whose named was not released because of the ongoing investigation, produced his own handgun and shot at Byrd several times, The Journal (Ind.) Gazette reported.

Byrd collapsed a few feet from the front door of the store. The clerk followed Byrd and fired several more shots at him outside, Joyner said.

Both weapons were recovered by police officers. The attendant was taken to police headquarters for questioning and was later released. Police said he has a valid permit to carry a handgun.

Crime-scene technicians used a flashlight to search under a candy stand just inside the store and moved a cash register at the desk. Officers also searched under a black Saturn parked next to the building, the report said.

One eyewitness, who asked not to be identified, said he was just down the street when he heard five gunshots.

Joyner said it was the first serious incident he could recall involving the Sunoco station. However, there have been other cases of botched armed-robbery attempts in the area that resulted in suspects being shot at, although never fatally.

In March 1998, a store clerk at Wildwood Liquors grabbed a 9-mm handgun from behind the counter during a holdup by two men. Gunfire was exchanged between one of the men and the clerk, who was shot in the hand and leg. The man, 28-year-old Michael Williams, was eventually convicted on attempted murder and attempted robbery charges.

And in November 1996, Nicholas Budowski, 23, was shot five times by two of the three employees inside the same liquor store after a botched holdup. He pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted robbery and was sentenced to 20 years.
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