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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Police investigate at The Smoke House Tobacco Outlet on Lafayette Street after an armed robbery Monday morning. The owner of the store later died from injuries.

Tobacco store owner dies in armed robbery

The owner of a tobacco store is dead after an armed robbery turned fatal Monday morning, according to the Fort Wayne Police Department.

Now, detectives are asking for the public’s help in locating a suspect.

Fort Wayne police officers were called to The Smoke House Tobacco Outlet, 2217 Lafayette St., about 9:30 a.m.

They found a man in critical condition, according to police, but had little to go on as to what happened.

A review of surveillance footage, though, showed that a man came into the store in an attempt to rob it and likely inflicted the injuries that left its owner dead.

While police did not specify what injuries the owner of the store suffered, they released photos of the suspect showing the man holding a gun.

The suspect is described by police as wearing a two-toned outer jacket that is gray over the shoulders and down the top of the sleeves. In the photos, the bottom half of the sleeves appears to be black.

The man appears to be right-handed, police said, is black and was wearing a red baseball cap with some type of emblem.

“Note too that the jacket goes from gray on shoulders to black midway down the body of the jacket,” police wrote in a news release.

Two photos of the suspect were released by police Tuesday morning.

The victim’s identity is expected to be released by the Allen County coroner after his next of kin has been notified.

The coroner’s office is also likely to release information on the cause and manner of death at that time.

If ruled a homicide, it will be the county’s third for 2014.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 436-STOP (436-7867) or the Fort Wayne Detective Bureau at 427-1201.