MALDEN — In a brazen attack in broad daylight, the owner of a skateboard shop was fatally shot outside his Main Street business Tuesday, after an apparent struggle that left clothes and shell casings scattered in the street.
Shawn Clark, 39, sustained several gunshot wounds in the attack, which occurred just before 1 p.m., and was later pronounced dead, authorities said. Friends described Clark as the owner of Patriot Skateboards and a former Marine.
“I’m sure he was protecting his store,” said Joe Ventura, who owns the Main Street building that houses the skateboard shop. “Middle of the day, broad daylight, it’s insane.”
The owner of a nearby shop said he was driving toward Main Street when he saw two men running down a side street away from the scene. When he turned the corner, he saw Clark lying on the ground. He said Clark was conscious when he was taken to the hospital.
No one had been charged as of Tuesday evening, and officials released few details.
Geoff Laskey, 25, said Clark was a patriotic man who made sure that everything he sold was American-made.
“He made it a point,” said Laskey, who said he had known Clark for a decade. “He was very proud of his country.”
Clark often organized events at a local skateboard park, Laskey said. “He did everything he could for the community.”
Clark had opened the Malden store a few years ago after owning a similar business in Saugus, where he lived with his wife, friends said. No one answered the door at his home Tuesday evening.
At the scene, Clark’s parents declined to comment after being interviewed by police.
Bobby Mac, a Malden resident who took his son to Clark’s shop, said he was known as friendly and generous. If teenagers could not afford the full cost of repairs to their skateboards, he would let them pay the next time, Mac said.
“That’s who he was,” Mac said. “He was just a nice, nice guy.”
A section of Main Street not far from downtown was closed off Tuesday as investigators collected evidence and interviewed witnesses. Neighbors who had gathered said they were horrified by the violence.
Mike Herlihy said he was stunned when he came upon the scene while taking a walk with his wife and daughter.
“It’s usually quiet around here,” he said.
P.J. Joseph, who lives above above the shop, said he was walking home when he saw medics attending to Clark. Inside the shop, the counter had been knocked over, he said.
“Everything is smashed,” he said.
The shop is a popular gathering place for a close-knit group of skateboarders, Joseph said. Joseph said he believes that the crime must have been random.
“These kids just lived to skateboard,” he said. “He gave them a home.”
The mayor of Malden, Gary Christenson, extended his condolences to Clark’s family. “We are going to continue to provide our Police Department with the resources they need to address criminal activity,” he said.
As investigators combed the scene, a woman rushed forward in tears. Her stepson worked at the shop and she had heard about the shooting. A police officer assured her that he was being interviewed by investigators. A short time later, the stepson emerged, and she wept.
“Thank God,” she said. “Thank you, God.”