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One man was shot and a second arrested Wednesday when an argument between the two inside Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission erupted in gunfire.

An 82-year-old man shot the 45-year-old victim just before noon as both men were lining up inside the Pioneer Square mission for lunch, according to Seattle police.

The victim, identified by the mission staff as Darren “Jerome” Nelson, was shot twice and was listed Wednesday evening in critical but stable condition at Harborview Medical Center, police said.

The suspect, identified by law-enforcement sources as Roger Mize, was arrested after the shooting.

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The two
were among the 70 or so men waiting to be let into the cafeteria for the twice-monthly lunch catered by Seattle’s El Gaucho steakhouse when they apparently began arguing over money, according to shelter staff and police.

Terry Pallas, who heads the men’s shelter program, said he also heard the shots might have been fired after one man pushed or shoved the other.

Police say Mize told them Nelson tried to assault and rob him.

Mize has no criminal history, according to a law-enforcement source.

Pallas credits the shelter staff, including a volunteer who wrestled the handgun from the shooter, for defusing a situation that could have been potentially more violent.

“The staff members acted heroically,” he said.

Pallas said he “heard the shot and the scream” inside the community room and went to help.

John Kapshaw, who works in guest relations in the men’s shelter, said Mize was not a regular at the Union Gospel Mission.

Kapshaw said he had seen him in the neighborhood but believes that Wednesday was his first time inside the mission.

Mize has never stayed overnight at the shelter, Pallas said.

The Union Gospel Mission does not allow firearms, but does not have metal detectors, Pallas said.

However, the staff will review that in light of the shooting, he said.

Pallas added that the shelter does not have surveillance cameras in the room where the shooting occurred.

The shooting is believed to be the first ever at the mission, which is more than 80 years old.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.

Seattle Times news researchers Miyoko Wolf and Gene Balk contributed to this report.

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