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Antique-shop worker beaten to death

Authorities have identified a 58-year-old man found beaten to death Monday in an antique shop near downtown Fort Wayne.

J. Robert Shimer, who lived in the city, died from blunt-force trauma to his head, according to the Allen County Coroner’s Office.

City police initially reported that Shimer, who worked at the shop, appeared to have been shot, but an autopsy Tuesday morning revealed otherwise.

“Until you get to the autopsy and get everything cleaned, it’s difficult to really say what caused some injuries,” said Sgt. Mark Brooks, a police spokesman. “Some sort of blunt object caused this man’s injuries.”

On Monday evening, a regular customer went into Antiques on Broadway, and at first, he did not see any employees. But he looked around and eventually found Shimer’s body, police said.

The customer then went next door and called 911 to report what he believed was a shooting, Brooks said. Officers were dispatched to the shop at 1115 Broadway, near West Jefferson Boulevard, shortly after 5 p.m.

Investigators don’t believe Shimer had been dead for very long, and they did not immediately find anything out of place in the store, police said.

The store was scheduled to be open until 6 p.m., and Shimer was believed to be the only employee on duty that evening. Robbery may have been the motive in his death, but investigators are not sure, Brooks said.

Police have not found any eyewitnesses to the beating. Brooks declined to say whether the store had surveillance cameras.

Investigators did not release any information regarding suspects or what was used to kill Shimer. No arrests have been made.

Shimer’s death was Allen County’s 30th and final homicide of 2012. The total is higher than usual for the county, which over the past three decades has seen an average of 25 homicides a year, according to Journal Gazette records.

aingersoll@jg.net

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