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LENGEL gym crossfit Jen Babcock of Ottawa Hills, left, and Steve Hall of Temperance weight-lift during a CrossFit workout at Black Swamp in Sylvania. Ms. Babcock and Mr. Hall are members of CrossFit Toledo Intensity Fitness, where owner-trainer Joseph Lengel was killed.
Jen Babcock of Ottawa Hills, left, and Steve Hall of Temperance weight-lift during a CrossFit workout at Black Swamp in Sylvania. Ms. Babcock and Mr. Hall are members of CrossFit Toledo Intensity Fitness, where owner-trainer Joseph Lengel was killed.
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Published: Thursday, 11/22/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

150 athletes flock to Sylvania CrossFit gym to pay tribute to slain trainer

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The workout designed in memory of Joseph Lengel, Jr., remained scribbled on one of the chalkboard panels at Black Swamp CrossFit Gym on Wednesday night.

Staff at the Sylvania gym, 5007 Monroe St., have reopened its doors to members of Mr. Lengel’s South Toledo gym after the owner was shot dead Monday when he showed up to work. And Tuesday, about 150 people from CrossFit gyms across the Toledo metropolitan area showed up at Black Swamp to do the workout — designed by Mr. Lengel’s sons — said Mike Nichols, the head trainer at Black Swamp.

“Half of what CrossFit is is a community,” said Mr. Nichols, who trained with Mr. Lengel for two years.

Joseph Lengel. Joseph Lengel.
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Mr. Lengel had just arrived at his gym, Intensity CrossFit Gym, 757 Warehouse Rd., in South Toledo, on Monday morning when he was shot once in the left side of his chest by an unknown person. His body was found by a gym patron, who called 911, at 5:56 a.m. He was later pronounced dead at the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio.

Police have not made any arrests or named any suspects in the homicide, the 33rd in the city this year.

Steve Hall, 23, of Temperance and Jen Babcock, 30, of Ottawa Hills, both members of Mr. Lengel’s gym, worked out at Black Swamp on Wednesday.

Mr. Hall said he had been training with Mr. Lengel for seven months, about four or five days a week — sometimes twice a day — and described Mr. Lengel as “very energetic” and friendly.

“He’d work out with us, too,” Mr. Hall said. “He would push us to get better. … Everybody is still in shock. The world lost a good person to a stupid incident. The world is a lesser place without him.”

Ms. Babcock started working out with Mr. Lengel a year and a half ago. She went to the gym six days a week and looked to Mr. Lengel not only as a trainer, but as extended family and a friend.

“It’s kind of a life experience,” she said. “ … Like, today, I kind of got frustrated. He’d [Joe] remind me of the balance between pushing the limits and reaching your goals. … He would have had some good words of wisdom for that.”

Ms. Babcock said she hopes police are able to make an arrest soon.

“I can’t imagine anyone having any ill will toward him,” she said. “He was that kind of guy.”

Initially, police believed the shooting was related to a robbery, but officials have said they are investigating other possibilities. Surveillance video was taken from one of the area businesses, but police have declined to say what can or cannot be seen.

Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 419-255-1111.



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