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West Baltimore carryout owner, 64, convicted for shooting at customer

Fu Tan, a Chinese carryout owner, is on trial for attempted murder.
Fu Tan, a Chinese carryout owner, is on trial for attempted murder. (Baltimore Police Department / HANDOUT)

A 64-year-old West Baltimore carryout owner who has been jailed for a year on charges of shooting and injuring a customer will be released soon after being convicted Monday at a short bench trial, his attorney said.

Public defender Martin Cohen said Circuit Court Judge Alfred Nance convicted his client, Fu Tan, of reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm. Nance sentenced him to a three years in prison, with all but 18 months suspended.

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In Maryland, inmates convicted of violent crimes generally serve two-thirds of their sentence with good behavior, and Cohen said Tan could be released early this week.

"Mr. Tan is very excited that he's going to be able to come home and be with his family," Cohen said. "I think justice was served in the most fair way."

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At a jury trial late last year, jurors deadlocked leading to a mistrial. The Baltimore State's Attorney's Office had sought in that case to convict Tan of attempted murder.

Assistant State's Attorney Linda Ramirez told jurors in opening statements of that trial that Tan intentionally tried to shoot the customer because he was upset or angry at a group of people who had been in the store causing trouble.

The victim testified that when he was in the carryout, another customer was complaining about her food and cursing at Tan, who was behind the store's protective glass. Merchant said he purchased his items without a problem. As he left, he said the customer threw her food on the ground or into the wall.

Tan took the stand during the trial that he did not intend to injure anyone, but fired shots from his gun in order to scare unruly customers from his store in the 1800 block of W. North Ave.

With a new trial set to begin Monday morning, Tan elected a bench trial. No witnesses were called, Cohen said, with both sides agreeing to the facts of the case and instead arguing Tan's culpability.

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