Two neighbors who live by a neighborhood bar near where police believe a man was shot early Saturday said the establishment should be shut down because of violence and rowdiness.
The bar owners, though, said the shooting death of a 27-year-old Toledo man was not connected to their establishment, and they have worked hard to make sure the bar is a good neighbor to the surrounding area.
Hiram J. Beasley of 503 Clark St. was pronounced dead early Saturday in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. Police were called to 3304 Beaumont Dr., just after 2 a.m., and found Mr. Beasley with a gunshot wound in the chest. Police said Mr. Beasley was with a large group of disorderly people who had left the Knight Cap Inn, 3302 Buckeye St. Police said an altercation occurred, and Mr. Beasley was shot.
Micah Holmes, 23, of 525 Everett St. was charged with voluntary manslaughter late yesterday after he arrived at the Safety Building with his attorney. He was being held at the Lucas County jail yesterday pending arraignment.
It was the fourth slaying in Toledo this month after the city recorded none in January.
Charles and Lovey Freeman, who said they have owned the Knight Cap Inn since 2000, said though the incident was unfortunate, they had no control over what happened, and it did not involve an incident that happened inside the bar itself.
"I live here, and I'm trying to raise a 15-year-old son," Mr. Freeman said. "I don't want any of that stuff around here. This is my livelihood, and we have good people who come here."
Claude Dailey, who lives across the street at 3311 Buckeye, said the bar is a constant nuisance for neighbors, and he has heard shots fired around it numerous times.
"[The shooting death] doesn't surprise us," Mr. Dailey said. "There's fighting there just about every other weekend. We hear the shooting. I wish they would close it down. That would make me happy."
Another neighbor, Nathan Barsen of 3309 Buckeye, said he fears for the safety of his four children living with him and two others belonging to another relative.
"You never know when a bullet is gonna go through a window and hit one of these children. I like the neighborhood, and my family lives around here. If the bar stays open, then I'm moving."
Mr. Freeman said the Knight Cap has been a neighborhood bar in the area for years. He said he has recently been working on making renovations to put an entertainment area in the basement. He said he has worked to make sure that the grounds are clean and attractive.
He said he believes some of the neighbors don't like the bar's clientele - mostly young African-Americans - and that's what's driving the complaints.
"[The shooting] has hurt my business," Mr. Freeman said. "All I want to do is create something nice for the neighborhood and run a business, but they're shutting down all the inner-city bars."
Mr. Dailey, who is African-American, said he is more concerned with safety than the clientele. He said he has been awakened on numerous weekends by loud music and large crowds that sometimes spill onto Buckeye itself.
"I'm a property owner, and we call the police all the time," Mr. Dailey said. "The bar has been very stressful for us."
Mr. and Mrs. Freeman said though Mr. Beasley and Mr. Holmes had been in the bar before, neither one of them was a regular. They said the incident happened outside of the bar and that Mr. Holmes never entered the bar that night.
He said closing the bar would not just take away his living, but it would hurt many regulars who are peaceful and have dwindling places for them to entertain themselves.
Mr. Dailey and Mr. Barsen said, though, they fear the next shooting may hurt or take the life of a neighborhood resident.
Gail Beasley, the mother of Mr. Beasley, could not be reached for comment yesterday. A woman answering the door at Mr. Holmes' residence said his parents were at church and not available for comment.
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