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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Widow Blames Gun Store for Husband’s Death

FRESNO, Calif. (CN) - An 85-year-old man who was killed by two men robbing a gun store would not have died had the store owner had proper security, the man's widow and children claim in court.

George Sheklian, 85, who owned Sierra Shoe Store, walked next door to Fresno Firearms to bring its owner a cup of coffee, as he did every day, Sheklian's widow claims in the Feb. 2 lawsuit in Fresno County Court.

But on Dec. 4, 2014, two men who had just robbed the gun dealer darted out and knocked him to the ground, dashing his head against the cement.

It took paramedics 20 minutes to arrive, while Sheklian "remained on the ground bleeding," his wife says in the complaint. He died five days later.

Fresno Firearms had been robbed in a similar manner less than a week before, but its owner Marilyn Panek did not take any remedial precautions for safety, the widow says.

Arsen Sheklian and her three children sued Panek and Fresno Firearms for negligence, willful misconduct and wrongful death.

The family says the defendants' security protections were so substandard that it was "just a matter of time before someone was injured or killed as a result of the lackluster security measures.

No arrests have been made for Sheklian's death, according to news reports.

The Sheklians are represented by Benjamin Tryk, who told Courthouse News in an email: "The owner of this gun store has a well-noted history of inadequate security or lack of an implemented system. It has been a public safety issue dating back years."

He added: "It's tragic. This gun shop was perceived as a prime target, treated like a prime target, robbed on multiple occasions and steps were not taken to fix a problem readily apparent to many, including the owner."

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