Off-duty police officer fatally shot at Ohio pub

AP News
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Posted: Nov 16, 2014 6:37 PM
Off-duty police officer fatally shot at Ohio pub

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — An off-duty officer was fatally shot early Sunday at a pub in northeast Ohio after he approached a patron described as "unruly" who was carrying a firearm, police said.

Four other people also were shot at the Papa Don's Pub in Akron at about 2 a.m., police Chief James Nice told reporters at a news conference. One of the victims was another off-duty police officer who was grazed by a bullet and suffered minor injuries. Three patrons were hospitalized with possibly life-threatening injuries, which Nice described as "significant."

The deceased officer was identified as Justin Winebrenner, 32, a department member for more than seven years. Nice did not release the names of the other victims but said the three hospitalized included two men and one woman.

The suspect fled on foot but was caught in a nearby field about an hour later with the help of a K-9 unit, police said.

Kenan Ivery, 35, of Akron, was arrested and charged with one count of aggravated murder and five counts felonious assault, Nice said. A message seeking comment was left Sunday at a phone number listed for Ivery.

Police Capt. Daniel Zampelli said Ivery was being treated at a hospital for injuries he suffered at the pub. He declined to discuss the nature or severity of the injuries.

Winebrenner had joined friends and other officers at the pub after attending an athletic organization's fundraiser, police said. Ivery also attended the event.

Nice declined to disclose the name of the group, but he said he believed Winebrenner knew the suspect.

Ivery came into the pub separately and "was being very unruly," Nice said. The pub's management asked Ivery to leave, which he did, but he came back shortly and had a gun.

"At this point, the restaurant patrons looked to Officer Winebrenner, knowing he's an officer, and needed his help," Nice said. "Officer Winebrenner began to deal with Mr. Ivery as a law enforcement officer. Ivery shot him at that point."

Nice said he didn't believe that Ivery followed the officer to the pub. Asked whether Ivery targeted Winebrenner after he returned to the bar with the firearm, Nice said, "We're working on that."

Nice said he did not know how many shots were fired. He said police were still investigating and reviewing video and witness statements.

Winebrenner was transported to a hospital, where he died. He was engaged and had a 4-year-old daughter, Nice said. He is survived by his father, a retired Barberton police officer.

Nice described Winebrenner as a good-natured officer: "He's a well-liked guy — just a really friendly, likable guy."

The police chief expressed disappointment with the state's conceal carry laws.

"The typical person in Summit County that is arrested for an illegal firearm does not do a day in jail," he said. "And I've been mad about this. I've spoken about this. I've irritated the judges about this. It's not just a judge's fault. It's a legislator's fault in Ohio. It's not considered a violent crime in the state of Ohio."