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Grocer hits his target -- again Man, 84, again not charged in shooting in his grocery store.


For the second time in less than three years, Neva Clark, an East Baltimore grocery store owner, has shot someone involved in violence in his store.

And each time he hit his target.

The first shooting, Oct. 3, 1988, was with a revolver during an attempted robbery by a teen-ager armed with what appeared to be a .45-caliber pistol.

Yesterday afternoon, the grocer's weapon was a 12-gauge double-barrel shotgun and the victim was a man who had just thrown a customer over the meat counter, the result of an fight.

In each case, the person Clark shot survived.

And, as in the earlier shooting incident, Clark, 84, who owns Clark's Food Market in the 2300 block of Greenmount Ave., was not charged.

Yesterday, police said, Clark was behind the counter talking to a male customer when another man entered the store, grabbed the customer and tossed him over Clark's meat counter.

Not knowing what was going to happen next, Clark reached under his counter, grabbed the shotgun and fired.

The blast struck Robert Howard, 42, of the 4400 block of Franconia Drive in northeast Baltimore, in the buttocks.

It scared the customer out of the store.

Police said Howard was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition today.

It was not immediately clear if Howard would be charged with anything.

Police said Clark, who requires a cane to walk, was taken into custody but released when an assistant state's attorney declined to press charges.

Yesterday's shooting brought back the incident that occurred three years ago when Clark was released without being charged after an attempted armed robbery by a 16-year-old boy.

Police said Clark was in his store when the youth walked in and hung around the candy display until several customers left.

After Clark asked the youth if he had made up his mind about what candy he wanted, the teen-ager pulled out what looked to (( Clark like a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

"Give me your money," the youth said.

Clark pretended to reach for his money but instead came up firing a .32-caliber revolver his father had given him 20 years earlier, according to published accounts.

One bullet hit the youth in the left arm, another struck the cigarette machine, the third went out a window and the fourth went into a door.

The youth fled the store.

Following a trail of blood, Eastern District police went to a house in the 400 block of E. 23rd St. and arrested the wounded teen-ager when he answered the door.

Police said the youth was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital for treatment of a bullet wound and was later charged as an adult with attempted armed robbery and a handgun violation.

The gun used in the robbery try, police said, was a BB pistol built to look just like a .45-caliber semiautomatic.

After shooting the would-be robber, Clark said, "I wanted to make sure I got in the first shot."

Yesterday, Clark got in the only shot.

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