LIMA — A recent shooting death prompted the City of Lima to file a lawsuit against a Lima bar.
According to a release from Sharetta Smith, Mayor David Berger’s chief of staff, Law Director Tony Geiger filed a lawsuit Friday in Allen County Common Pleas Court against plaintiffs connected to the Gas Station bar, 126 E. North St., including liquor permit holder Bisman Investment LLC, its managing members Kurt and Sherry Bishop, Bisman incorporator Wesley Ullman, property owner Thelma Banks and possible manager Michael Liles, as well as an unnamed plaintiff.
The suit was filed after Davohn Godsey was shot and killed in the bar July 5. Godsey’s obituary appears on 2B. Marlon Godsey was also shot and injured during the incident. In a release Friday, Det. Steve Stechschulte identified Dearin Thomas, 24, also known as Dearin Jackson, as the person “responsible for the shooting death of Mr. Godsey,” according to the release.
“Detectives are still actively searching for additional individuals who were with Mr. Thomas when he shot Mr. Godsey, whose names they are not releasing at this time,” Stechschulte said. “They are also actively seeking several known witnesses of the shooting who watched the incident occur.”
The lawsuit, which seeks an abatement and permanent injunction against the bar, as well as damages, was filed as part of “ongoing efforts by the city to shut down and clean up problem establishments operating in Lima,” according to the release.
“The majority of nightclubs and bars in the city are good and properly run businesses,” Berger said in a statement. “Unfortunately, there are also some that are sources of crime and violence that make their continued operation a concern for public safety, and those are the businesses we are targeting.”
Lima mayoral candidate Keith Cheney responded to the lawsuit announcement Friday, asserting that it is an example of the mayor’s inconsistency in dealing with violent crime in the city.
“After 28 years in office, it’s evident that Dave Berger does not have a systematic plan in place, and his responses are always knee-jerk reactions after incidents happen in our city,” he said. “As mayor, I will have a plan that is systematic that certainly enhances the protection of our citizens, not only in the downtown area, but throughout our city. I will work closely with the Lima Police Department on a daily basis, not only during a campaign year or after an unfortunate, serious event.”
Lima Law Director Tony Geiger was out of the office Friday afternoon and could not be reached for comment. Efforts to contact property owner Thelma Banks for comment were unsuccessful.