December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria residents unnerved by early morning shooting

ELYRIA — An early morning shooting of a Circle K employee Thursday left an unsettled tone in the surrounding neighborhood.

The suspects were still at large and the clerk, Richard Tainter, 43, was in serious condition at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland late Thursday.

Tainter was working at the Circle K at 515 N. Abbe Road early Thursday when he stepped outside about 2:45 a.m. to smoke a cigarette, according to a news release. Tainter told police he saw a slender man wearing a gray jacket and a white mask walk toward him brandishing a handgun. A 6-foot-tall white man wearing a red hooded sweatshirt stood nearby, according to the report.

Seeing the men, Tainter tried to get back inside the store, but the man with the gun caught up with him, police said. The man started struggling with Tainter and Tainter was shot in the stomach, according to the release.

The men ran from the area while Tainter crawled into the store to call police.

Officers arrived and found Tainter lying on the floor by the counter with a gunshot wound to the lower right side of his stomach.

Despite the wound, Tainter was able to tell police what happened before he was taken to University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center and then MetroHealth, where he underwent emergency surgery.

A spokesperson for Circle K didn’t return a phone call Thursday to discuss the incident.

For some residents in the area, the shooting was unnerving.

“It worries me. It makes me want to lock my doors,” said Kelly Johnson, who lives near Circle K. Johnson said she frequents Circle K, but usually during the day.

Joe Shapko also thought of the community’s safety after the incident.

“I’m surprised and not surprised,” he said.

Shapko lives close to Circle K as well and said he’s glad he has a security system at his house.

“(A shooting) is a whole other level. People are desperate,” he said.

A resident who didn’t want to be named said though the area is known as safe, it’s not immune to violence.

“This can happen everywhere. I don’t think you can say (there’s a safe part of town),” she said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.