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Published: Saturday, 5/1/2010

Shooting ends in hung jury

Sawyer Sawyer

After three days of testimony and seven hours of deliberations, a jury in Lucas County Common Pleas Court decided Friday it could not reach a decision in the case of a man charged with having a gun at the Route 66 Bar & Grill.

Lashon Sawyer, 38, of 2012 Balkan Place, who was a cook at the bar at the time, is charged with illegal possession of a firearm in a liquor-permit premise.

A jury of seven men and five women declared a hung jury Friday afternoon. Judge Linda Jennings released the jury and set a July 6 trial date.

At the start of the trial, jurors viewed the bar at 406 Westwood Ave., the site of an Oct. 8 shootout captured on video and shown on national news. Throughout the trial, patrons and employees who were at the bar that night testified about how a fistfight between security and a customer erupted into gunfire.

Although about 20 shots were fired from at least four guns, no one was hurt.

Mr. Sawyer testified in his own defense Thursday, saying he found the handgun he is seen shooting on the video and was taking it into the bar to turn it in. He further testified that he shot the gun and later dropped it after fearing for his life.

Assistant County Prosecutor Kathryn Sandretto told jurors during closing arguments yesterday Mr. Sawyer was not charged for his actions once the shooting started, only for bringing the gun into the bar. She said the evidence from witnesses, on the video, and from the defendant himself proved he had possession of the gun in the bar that night.

Defense attorney Ronnie Wingate countered that Mr. Sawyer's actions were in self-defense. He noted several witnesses said they believed Mr. Sawyer's actions eventually warded off the gunmen and may have saved lives.

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