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Suspect in attack on Japp's manager arrested, charged with assault

Posted: 5:30 PM, Jun 28, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-28 21:30:14Z

CINCINNATI -- A man suspected of attacking the manager of a popular Over-the-Rhine bar , injuring her so severely she needed brain surgery, was Thursday found, arrested and charged with felonious assault.

According to police, 33-year-old Lucien Lanier rammed his car into another shortly after midnight June 10. When he noticed a nearby witness -- a bartender -- recording video of the incident, he left his vehicle and attacked the bartender's companion: Jen Watts, a manager at Japp's.

Police said Lanier struck Watts so hard she fell to the ground, striking her head against the concrete, before knocking the bartender's phone from his hand and fleeing.

"This guy was upset about something and took it out on an innocent -- doesn't hurt a fly -- person," Japp's proprietor Molly Wellmann said shortly after the incident. "She is one of the most hardworking people in Cincinnati and in this industry. She is incredible ... Luckily, she's healing."

If the bartender had not called 911 immediately, she added, Watts' life might have ended that night.

According to police, Lanier has "a long history of felonious assaults, drug trafficking and domestic violence arrests." He had been "observed being very disorderly in front of Tree House Bar" before the attack on Watts.