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Desperation cited in shootout at a takeout in West Oak Lane

There was little sympathy Friday in West Oak Lane for the man who burst into a takeout restaurant at 7:45 p.m. Thursday and announced a robbery, only to be shot and critically injured by the owner.

Peter's Chicken & Seafood, in West Oak Lane
Peter's Chicken & Seafood, in West Oak LaneRead moreMENSAH M. DEAN / Staff

There was little sympathy Friday in West Oak Lane for the man who burst into a takeout restaurant at 7:45 p.m. Thursday and announced a robbery, only to be shot and critically injured by the owner.

"Desperate people do desperate things, but they don't anticipate the outcome. The owner is a good dude. It was unfortunate for him to end up in that situation," Ron Paul, 42, said after exiting his home next door to Peter's Chicken & Sea Food, the scene of a shootout the night before.

The business, in the 7300 block of North 19th Street, near Cheltenham Avenue, remained closed Friday, its security gates rolled down and locked. The owner, who police said fired three shots, was not injured.

Police said the 37-year-old alleged robber, who fired four shots, showed up at Einstein Medical Center 15 minutes later with gunshot wounds to his chest. He was admitted in critical condition. Authorities did not release the names of the owner or the alleged robber.

A Police Department spokesperson said Friday that no charges had been filed and that the incident remained under investigation. The store's surveillance camera captured the shootout on video, police said.

Inside Bruno's Pizza, adjacent to Peter's, Drew Yang and his father, Jimmy, the owners, said they have confronted armed robberies twice in recent years.

"Desperate times, even though the economy seems to be doing better. People are trying to find opportunities for quick money," said Drew Yang, 44, whose family has owned Bruno's for more than 30 years.

Other stores in the area have been robbed in the last couple of years, according to a man who has worked for the Yangs since 2005.

"I grew up in this neighborhood," said the employee, who is 57 but did not want his name published. "These new young boys don't have no respect, no real upbringing like we had when I was growing up. These guys now, you got to blame it on the parents. Their parents are just as young as they are."

Paul, the next-door neighbor, said he had noticed that as the holidays approach robberies increase. He's hoping the shootout is not a harbinger of more gunfire.

"I just pray that this doesn't happen again," said Paul, who works as a janitor. "And the young boy who did what he did, I just hope he turns his life around, because we're losing too many young brothers behind dumb things, and that was dumb. He could have lost his life."