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Published: Monday, 1/4/2010

Route 66 Bar and Grill gets OK from Judge to reopen


A Toledo Municipal Court judge Monday authorized the Route 66 Bar and Grill to reopen for business this week.

Judge C. Allen McConnell said the bar would be allowed to open for business Thursday after he approved a nine-point security plan put in place by the owner that involves off-duty police officers providing security in the parking lot and metal detectors at the door.

The central-city bar was the site of a minutes-long gun battle on Oct. 8 that was captured on the bar's video surveillance system and was broadcast locally and nationwide.

On Dec. 16, Judge McConnell ruled that it would not be labeled a nuisance and shuttered but he said it must have the approved security plan before it can reopen.

The judge said there was not enough evidence to grant an injunction barring the establishment from reopening.

Headlining the news both locally and nationally, a video of the midnight shooting at Route 66 at 406 North Westwood Ave. shows how a physical altercation between bar employees and a customer escalated into a lengthy gun battle.

Despite about 20 shots being fired from four guns, no one was injured.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner called for the closing of the bar after the shooting, citing police reports of several incidents at the bar's location.

In his earlier opinion, Judge McConnell noted that 'very few' violations occurred inside the bar but instead, 'most of the violations have occurred outside of the bar and on the surrounding property.'

He also noted that 'no violation has risen to the level of causing injury to any victim.'

Police have identified two of the suspects in the incident.

Marquese Robbins, 32, whose last known address was 1103 Norwood Ave., was charged with four counts of felonious assault. A known gang member, Robbins has an extensive criminal record dating to 1998, police said.

Also charged was Lashon Sawyer, 38, who worked in the kitchen at the bar.

Mr. Sawyer, who has no criminal record, is charged with discharging a firearm in the city limits, a misdemeanor. His case remains pending in municipal court.

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