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Pizza deliveryman shot for standing up to crooks

Pizza deliveryman James "Jimmer" Lahr took a chance early Tuesday morning and stood up to three robbers.

His defiance almost got him killed.

"I was shot twice in the gut and once in the left leg," the 50-year-old Lovejoy resident said of his encounter with the crooks, who fled empty-handed.

Lahr, who has delivered pizzas for three decades, was in Buffalo's Schiller Park neighborhood at about 2 a.m., preparing to get out of his vehicle and make a delivery, when he was confronted.

"Two of them reached in and yanked me from my vehicle. One of them said, 'You know what time it is,' " Lahr recalled, knowing they meant it was time to be robbed.

But the unarmed Lahr, who wasn't even carrying that much cash, had other ideas.

"I fought them, and then they shot me," he said Tuesday afternoon from his hospital bed in Erie County Medical Center. "I actually thought they had a cap gun, so I was a little braver than usual. I didn't expect to be shot."

Lahr, who drives for Partner's Bar and Pizzeria in the 300 block of Shanley Street, just over the Buffalo border in Cheektowaga, was making a late-night run to a customer at Doat Street and Sprenger Avenue.

"The customer we deliver to over there is a regular," said Partner's owner Otto Misso, who expressed concern for the safety of the employees who drive for his business as well as his competitors. "This is the second time in 15 years that I've had a problem with a driver."

He described the 5-foot, 8-inch, 180-pound Lahr, the father of two young boys, as tenacious.

"Jimmer's tough, and his spirits are up. It takes a lot to shake him up," Misso said.

If the robbers had succeeded, they would not have gotten all that much money, according to Misso.

"My guys don't carry a lot of money. They carry less than $20, and it's just to make change," he said.

One of the robbers, authorities said, approached Lahr's Chevrolet Equinox on a bicycle, while another approached on foot, leading police to believe it was a spontaneous attempt at robbery.

"I don't know where the third guy came from," Lahr said.

At least one of the attackers fled east on Doat, leaving behind the bicycle, police said.

Lahr managed to drive away to Doat and Euclid Avenue in Cheektowaga, where he was found by town police.

"The police in Cheektowaga, Buffalo, Lackawanna, the NFTA, they are all good to us. They keep an eye on us," Lahr said of fast-food delivery workers.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said police in the city's districts do watch out for deliverymen and cab drivers.

"At times, it can be a dangerous job, despite the many precautions these workers take," Derenda said. "We have not had a lot of incidents like this, but from time to time, we get these types of robberies."

Ferry-Fillmore District detectives are continuing to investigate the shooting.

Before Tuesday, Lahr says he had never been the victim of a robbery or attempted robbery, "but I have had a couple close calls over the years."

Fast-food delivery work, he added, is one of the most dangerous jobs around.

"I've been doing it for 30 years," he added.

Lahr, who was kept overnight at ECMC, says he is in pain and tired from the bullet wounds.

"I'm hurting," he said.

But happy to be alive.

Oh, and when he recovers, he plans to return to delivering pizza.

email: lmichel@buffnews.com