Market owner held in fatal shooting of man who urinated behind building
BY TAMMY STABLES BATTAGLIA • FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER • February 18, 2009
The 69-year-old owner of an east side Detroit fish market is in custody after he allegedly shot and killed a man for urinating on his building.
Meanwhile, longtime business neighbors say there has to be more to the story.
“Peeing on the side of the building isn’t going to make someone that mad,” said David Short, owner of Gratiot Pelkey Auto. Short’s building shares a wall with Asian Fisheries, 13516 Gratiot, the spot of Tuesday’s 7 p.m. shooting. “There’s a lot worse things going on where we’re at,” Short said.
But investigators say that’s why a 36-year-old man died, Detroit Police spokesman James Tate said. Officials aren’t releasing the name of the alleged shooter, Tate said. But he said the suspect spotted the victim relieving himself behind the building, then told another man, “Go get my gun.” After shooting the man urinating, the suspect then took off in a tan Lincoln, and the man who got the gun fled in a black truck, Tate said.
Tanya Armstrong, who works across the street at Lewis Tool Rental, said the alleged gunman is a “gentleman.”
“That doesn’t seem like something he would do,” she said. “I get my fish and crab legs from there. He and his son are very nice people and they’ve seen their share of crime.”
“I just figured this had something to do with a robbery attempt,” Armstrong said.
Short said his neighbor, married with children and living in Detroit, at times would give away food from his fish market to those hungry for a meal.
“The man would give anybody the shirt off his back,” Short said. “He’d give homeless people dinners. People who came by that didn’t have any money, he’d give them fish dinners.
“I can assure you there’s a lot more than what we’re hearing,” Short said.
Since the fish market opened in 1998 or 1999, the neighborhood has seen its share of crime, he added. And that’s what makes Short think that someone urinating wouldn’t incite his neighbor to the point of violence.
“He’s looked the other way too many other times,” Short said. “He’s watched people stripping the copper out of houses, and said, ‘Hey, stop that.’ I’ve seen people irate at him, but him never getting out of line.”
No one was answering the phone at Asian Fisheries this afternoon.
Contact TAMMY STABLES BATTAGLIA at 313-223-4456 or firstname.lastname@example.org
. Staff writer Ben Schmitt contributed to this report.