Car­ry­out owner tes­ti­fies he fired shots to drive off un­ruly cus­tomers

Baltimore Sun - - AROUND THE REGION - By Justin Fen­ton jfen­ton@balt­sun.com

The owner of a Chi­nese car­ry­out in West Bal­ti­more took the stand Wed­nes­day at his at­tempted-mur­der trial and in­sisted that he fired a hand­gun three times into the ground to scare off a group of un­ruly cus­tomers in Fe­bru­ary.

Speak­ing through an in­ter­preter, the owner, Fu Tan, said he was in fear for his life.

“I just wanted to drive them away, and prove to them I did have a weapon,” Tan tes­ti­fied.

In­stead of strik­ing the pave­ment, at least one of the bul­lets struck the thigh of an­other man who had just left the store. Pros­e­cu­tors al­lege Tan in­ten­tion­ally fired at him and tried to kill him.

The de­fense, how­ever, said Tan had no rea­son to want to harm him. The cus­tomer, Avrian Mer­chant, tes­ti­fied Tues­day that two other peo­ple in the store were yelling at Tan about their food or­der.

Tan has been held with­out bond since the Fe­bru­ary in­ci­dent, which oc­curred in the 1800 block of W. North Ave.

On Wed­nes­day, Tan tes­ti­fied that the four un­ruly cus­tomers en­tered his store three times that night.

The first time, they looked at the menu and left. They came back a se­cond time and or­dered, but com­plained it was not cor­rect and asked for some­thing else. Tan said he made the new or­der and re­funded the dif­fer­ence.

When they came back a third time with a mostly empty food con­tainer, ask­ing for a full re­fund, he said he re­fused.

“Their at­ti­tude was very mean,” Tan tes­ti­fied. “I do not want any­thing un­happy to hap­pen in my store.”

Tan said a woman cus­tomer threw food at the wall. He said a man started bang­ing his body against a plas­tic glass door that sep­a­rates cus­tomers from em­ploy­ees. At that point, Tan said, he be­lieved he was go­ing to be robbed or that they would break down the door.

“I am 64 years old,” Tan said. “I’m afraid they will come back to de­stroy the store. It has hap­pened sev­eral times.”

Tan said he re­trieved a legally owned re­volver from a black plas­tic bag un­der his counter, and opened the door. The group ran out.

Tan stood up from the wit­ness stand and demon­strated fir­ing the shots, point­ing his hand at the ground. Mer­chant, who was across the street after leav­ing with his or­der, was hit at least once and said he turned around and saw Tan with his arm raised.

Bal­ti­more Cir­cuit Judge Videtta A. Brown re­jected a re­quest by pub­lic de­fender Martin Co­hen to dis­miss the charges against Tan after the state pre­sented its case.

“You have some­one be­hind a Plex­i­glas en­clo­sure, that the court be­lieves is a place of safety, who comes through not one but two doors,” Brown said. “At some point, there’s time to think about what you’re do­ing.” largest cap­i­tal im­prove­ment pro­gram and the most op­ti­mal re­turns for the city. Live Na­tion and SMG would in­vest $3.4 mil­lion in cap­i­tal im­prove­ments over the con­tract’s term and would hold at least 25 shows an­nu­ally, ac­cord­ing to de­tails in­cluded in the Board of Es­ti­mates agenda. Reid said his firm’s of­fer was to hold 45 shows a year. He said the bid was worth more than $20 mil­lion to the city in profit-shar­ing. “Some­thing is fishy,” he said. “This could be a case of con­tract steer­ing.” Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the BDC and the city law department dis­puted that con­tention and said there was no fa­voritism.

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