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Man shot in front of his wife during robbery, hotel owner says

The man who died trying to stop a robber at the Captain’s Quarters Hotel bar in St. John's Saturday night was shot in front of his wife.

"He was there playing pool with his wife," bar owner Marcel Etheridge told The Telegram this morning. "It's very, very sad."

Larry Wellman has been identified as the man who took it upon himself to try and halt the male robber.

The robber got away. Police are still looking for him.

Etheridge said Wellman was originally from Corner Brook who was described as a "real nice fellow." He said he often dropped into the bar for a few drinks and game of pool.

The incident happened just before midnight Saturday. Etheridge said there were about four or five customers in the bar when a masked man with the hood of his hoodie up came in the bar from the main side entrance, holding a gun.

Related story: Man shot during armed robbery dies

Etheridge — who viewed the surveillance video from the four cameras he had set up inside the establishment — said the man looked young.

He said the man approached the bar and demanded money from the female bartender, who is in her early 60s.

She complied, but the man wasn't satisfied with the low amount she gave him, so he went behind the bar himself to look.

Etheridge said he was aggressive and cursed at her.

With money in hand, the man went to run through the pool room on the way to the door facing King's Bridge Road, but that's when Wellman grabbed a small side table — which was usually used to put the toaster on for continental breakfast for guests — and pushed it into the robber, Etheridge said.

He said there was a struggle and that's when Wellman was shot. The robber ran out the front door.

He said Wellman appeared to get shot in the lower abdomen and leg. A few customers ran to try to stop the bleeding until paramedics showed up. The bartender ran to the basement to call Etheridge.

He said paramedics worked on Wellman for about 40 minutes before taking him to hospital.

He said customers and hotel guests have all been evacuated from the building as police continue to investigate. Officers were at the scene again today. Police have taken the entire surveillance system, he said. He said police would replace his if necessary.

Etheridge said he believes the building will be reopened this afternoon. In the meantime he's housing guests in a neighbouring building, which he also owns.

He says everyone had been shaken by the incident.

"We're a small neighbour bar and it's usually very quiet here," Etheridge said. "There hasn't been so much as a fight here in a long time."

He said the last time an armed robbery happened about five years ago, customers also intervened, but managed to stop the man at that time.

"I've got to be honest with you, there's a lot of anger built up inside of me right now," Etheridge said "police really have to do something about this drug problem because it's one of the big reasons why so many robberies are happening."

Twitter; TelyCourt



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