MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Police said a road rage incident late Monday night resulted in a shooting in the parking lot of a local restaurant with children in the car, The Journal-News reported.
A Middletown couple is behind bars charged with felonies for the incident.
Officers were called to the 3500 block of Dixie Highway, at about 9:40 p.m. for a large disturbance and reports of shots fired.
When officers arrived, a car was in the lot and two people, Chase Harris and Jessica Payne, had their hands on the older model white vehicle. A handgun and ammo were on the ground, according to the police report.
The couple, who had two children (ages 1 and 3) in the car, told the officer they had been involved in a road rage incident, pulled into the parking lot of Rapid Fire Pizza at 3583 Dixie Highway, and were assaulted. The other half of the disturbance was gone when officers arrived.
While investigating, officers were told a person had arrived at Atrium Medical Center with a gunshot wound. Charles Howard, 43, suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound, according to Sgt. Malcolm Tipton.
A single bullet was located four feet from the car and there was a large amount of blood between the entrance off Dixie Highway closest to Ohio 122 and the restaurant.
The manager of the restaurant told officers he taped the event after being alerted to vehicles coming into the parking lot. He was outside picking up trash when both white vehicles, one older and the other newer, raced into the lot then people got out and began fighting.
Officers observed the video that showed the fist fight that ended in gunfire.
The two subjects were in what appeared to be a mutual fight with the occupants of the other vehicle. While in the fight, the two sides separated and (Harris) began to run from one of the subjects and circles around his car several times.
You can hear him in the video making the statement “Get my gun. Get my gun.” You can then see (Payne) enter the passenger side of the older model white vehicle, reach underneath the seat and hand (Harris) something,” according to officers who viewed the video.
“While this is occurring, the black male and black female in the newer white vehicle get back into their car and appear to pull off towards Dixie Highway in the parking lot in front of Rapid Fire Pizza. (Harris) then runs from the passenger side of his vehicle across the parking lot towards Dixie Highway and kicks the rear passenger side door of the newer model white vehicle. The car being operated by the other two subjects involved in this begins to spin at a high rate of speed and begins swerving at (Harris) as he is running in circles in the parking lot attempting to avoid being struck.”
Then as the car is turning circles in the parking lot, (Harris) runs back toward his vehicle and jumps on the back trunk of the vehicle, climbing up towards the roof.
“You see the other vehicle come to a stop and back up, then proceed back out towards Dixie Highway, believed to be leaving,” according to officers. “(Harris) again jumps off his vehicle with his pistol in hand and runs over toward the newer white vehicle and appears to try to instigate a fight,” officers said in the report.
Then the newer model vehicle comes to as stop, people exit the vehicle and words are stated, “Just go ahead and shoot me,” the officer observes in the video. A single shot is fired, Harris runs away from the vehicle and the video ends.
Officers had a person come and pick up the young children in the car. A pair nunchuks and a throwing star were found in a diaper bag.
Harris, 24, of the 3200 block of Beatrice Drive, is charged with felonious assault and endangering children. Payne, 24, also of the Beatrice Drive address, is charged with attempted felonious assault and attempted child endangering.