Stray bullets after Middletown bar fight narrowly miss 5-year-old and mom, homeowner says

Posted at 10:02 PM, Sep 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-04 23:31:31-04

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- A shootout in a Middletown street sent bullets just inches from a 5-year-old and her mom Saturday night, according to a homeowner.

The shots were fired outside the Crawford Street bar Third Base Cafe after a fight in the bar at about 11:40 p.m. Saturday, Middletown police Lt. Jimmy Cunningham told WCPO news partner the Journal-News. Police said they found nine shell casings.

Police were still looking for the shooters Monday.

Crawford Street resident John Butler said a friend and her 5-year-old were sleeping when stray bullets burst through the wall. The mom and child were just below the bullet holes.

"If she would have stood up to go to the bathroom, it would either have been the head or chest," Butler said. "The baby would have got it in the chest or head."

Butler was sleeping in the next room.

"I was screaming because the first hit come through there, I know what it sounds like, so I knew how the house was being hit, and there was dust ... It was smokey in here from the outside light," he said.

Butler's home now has seven or eight holes. One bullet went through his satellite dish and into his friend's car. He said he ran outside when the shooting ended.

"I just wanted to see something, see somebody, identify somebody," Butler said. "This is crazy, because every time there's an argument you just know it's going to end in gunplay. Every time, it never fails."

Witnesses told police one man was shot, according to the Journal-News. Detectives have not yet found him.

A bar manager declined to comment Monday, pointing out that the shooting didn't happen at the bar, but near the Crawford tunnel.

Police told the Journal-News they've responded to 32 calls to the bar in the last six months.

Last November, two men were shot in the bar's parking lot. There was also a shooting in the lot in 2015.

Police said they're looking at ways to stop violence on the block.

Butler said he planned to nail up concrete board.

"It ain't going to stop it, but it will slow it down," he said. "You know damn well it's going to happen again."