Update: Gold & Silver Trading Center manager Steve Toms fatally shot at business

ariquelmy@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 16, 2011 

Stephen Earl Toms, the manager of Gold & Silver Trading Center, 3717 Gentian Boulevard in Columbus, has been fatally shot at the business.

Toms was shot multiple times. He was pronounced dead at 9:36 a.m., said Deputy Coroner Freeman Worley.

Hadley Scott, the daughter of Gold & Silver owner Robert Upchurch Jr., spoke with her dad about the situation earlier in the day: "He's in shock. He's in absolute shock."

The two are known for local television commercials in which they encourage people to bring in their broken gold and silver jewelry for cash. They refer to their business as the "little white house." The television commercials have been pulled off the air, Scott said.

Toms has worked at the business for about three decades, Scott said.

"He was just a really nice guy," Scott said. "He would have gladly handed them money."

There have been no arrests and police were still investigating during the lunch hour. Upchurch was at the scene talking to law enforcement officials. Toms' body was put in the coroner's van about 2:45 p.m..

Toms also owns Duffy's, a Columbus bar that was once known as the Shanty Shack. The Duffy's Facebook page changed its profile picture to Toms this morning. It also posted the following message: "Duffys will be CLOSED today, Wed Nov. 16th until further notice. Due to uncontrollable circumstances. thankyou"

The call came in at 9:15 a.m. today, police said.

Police said someone came into the business this morning to open the store and found the victim on the floor shot. Scott said it was her father who found Toms' body. It appears that the victim had been there for some time, police said.

Police are asking people if they heard or saw anything in that area after 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night.

Muscogee County deputy coroner Freeman Worley is on the scene, as well as Columbus Police Sgt. Harvey Hatcher, Assistant District Attorney William Hocutt and Maj. Gene Hillhouse, who leads the robbery/assault division.

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