The Christian Brothers Academy baseball coach is recovering after being shot at his Syracuse liquor store Wednesday night. Police say two armed men robbed Thomas Dotterer's store and shot him in the eye with either a small caliber or pellet gun. He is in critical, but stable, condition after surgery. As our Katie Gibas reports, as police continue their investigation, those who know Dotterer are sending their prayers.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Police are releasing limited information at this time. They are investigating two robberies that happened Wednesday. At this point, they're working out whether or not they are related.
Police say they have several leads into the investigation that left the CBA baseball coach, Thomas Dotterer, 77, in the hospital. He was shot in the eye with either a small caliber or pellet gun when two people robbed his liquor store on North Salina Street.
Police say Dotterer was talking to them before he went to the hospital Wednesday night. After undergoing surgery on his eye, he is now listed in critical, but stable, condition. He has been varying between critical and serious condition all day.
Someone stopped by Thursday morning and posted a sign that reads, “Tom did not deserve this. Please catch them."
Several community members have written well wishes on the sign.
Alexander Gause works just two doors down from Thomas Dotterer. He says everyone goes to Dotterer's liquor store to mingle and talk about everything from sports to literature.
"We all know each other, so we get along pretty good, like a family," said Alexander Gause, who works at the Northside Redemption Center.
That's why he was shocked to hear about someone robbing Dotterer.
"This man is an old man. He worked hard to get his business. He's been here for years. He's the kind of man that if you need something, he'd give it to you, so I don't know why somebody would rob him," said Gause.
And this isn't the first time Dotterer has had run-ins with thieves.
"Mr. Dotterer and his family have owned that liquor store for years. It's a family owned business. Unfortunately, he has been the victim of crimes in the past. He has a history of being a very determined and relentless defender of his business. He's been involved in several incidents where he's been injured fighting back," said Sergeant Tom Connellan with the Syracuse Police Department.
Police are still working out the details to find out if that's what happened Wednesday night when Dotterer was shot in the eye.
"Mr. Dotterer is a very well-known person, very well-liked, a local coach, has a history in this community. And this is the type of crime that we're working around the clock to try to make an arrest in this case," said Connellan.
"He's always around and very visible, very approachable, just a great guy and when you get to know him, I think it makes it even better. He's someone who would do anything for you and he's always there if you need anything," said Buddy Wleklinski, the CBA Athletic Director.
CBA students and staff started the morning with a prayer for Dotterer's quick recovery.
"We're just hoping that he understands and that his family he understands just how much Tom is loved by a lot of people," said Wleklinski.
Those who know Dotterer say he's a strong man and anticipate he'll be back to work and ready for baseball to start in April.
Police are still looking for the suspects. They are asking anyone with information to contact them at (315) 442-5222.