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Armed robber fatally shot at social club

A 64-year-old man gunned down an armed robber Friday night in an apparent act of self-defense during a card game at a social club on Genesee Street, police said.

A second suspect - a 16-year-old Woodlawn Avenue resident - has been charged in the attempted robbery, after being wounded during the exchange of gunfire, police said.

The shooting occurred about 9:30 p.m. in 743 Genesee St. - described by police as a social club where senior citizens gather to play cards.

Two masked men - one armed with a shotgun, the other with a pistol - showed up and told the five people playing cards not to move, Detective Mary Gugliuzza of the Major Crimes Unit said.

A round from the robber's shotgun went off and a man playing cards hit the floor.

Meanwhile, the 64-year-old man, who also was playing cards - apparently believing his friend had been shot - pulled out his gun and returned fire, police said.

"One of the patrons, who has a pistol permit, pulls out his handgun and shoots at the guy with the shotgun," Gugliuzza said Saturday.

The bandit armed with the shotgun was shot and killed, police said. As the robber was hit with the bullet, his shotgun went off and hit his accomplice in the arm, Gugliuzza said.

The dead robber's identity was unavailable.

His accomplice, meanwhile, ran from the building and flagged down a motorist, who drove him to Erie County Medical Center, according to police.

A short time later, detectives charged Warren Zontail, 16, of the 100 block of Woodlawn Avenue, with first-degree robbery and criminal possession of a weapon.

The scene of the shooting is a small storefront on Genesee, between Johnson and Grey streets. There was no sign on the building and the doorway was closed by a locked gate.

No charges were lodged against the 64-year-old card player, whose name was not released.

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