LIMA — Levels Lounge, the site of a triple homicide shooting in downtown Lima early Tuesday morning, was temporarily closed by order of an Allen County Common Pleas Court judge on Wednesday.
Judge Terri Kohlrieser granted a temporary restraining order as requested in paperwork filed in the Allen County Clerk of Courts Office by City of Lima Law Director Tony Geiger. The city’s request for the order was brought under the state of Ohio’s nuisance statute, which states that whenever a nuisance exists the law director of a municipality may seek a remedy “to abate the nuisance and to perpetually enjoin the person maintaining the nuisance from further maintaining it ….”
By definition, under Ohio law a nuisance is a place that “substantially interferes with public decency, sobriety, peace and good order.”
In support of its request for the preliminary injunction, the City of Lima claims that Levels Lounge is a “source of various activities that are criminal or quasi-criminal in nature” and that the owner of the establishment, Helen Ruth Investments LLC, has “failed to take sufficient remedial measures to correct these issues.”
Kohlrieser, in her written response to the city’s request, wrote that issues raised by the city “… constitute, at least in part, extreme violence and major breaches of the public peace and good order, endangering the health, safety and welfare of the patrons of the premises, patrons of other downtown establishments, passersby and the public in general.
“The court further finds it necessary to grant this order without notice to the defendants due to the extreme violence at issue, a consistent historical pattern of violations of the law and the need to prevent or minimize the potential for retaliatory violent actions at the premises ….”
Violations that have taken place at Levels Lounge, as detailed by an affidavit submitted to the city by Lima Police Department Sgt. Nick Hart, include weapons while intoxicated, failure to disperse, riot, resisting arrest, aggravated menacing, misconduct at an emergency, assault, obstructing official business, intoxication, underage consumption of alcohol, marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia possession.
As a result of filing, Kohlrieser ordered the premises at 122 E. North St. to be “closed, padlocked and secured” as deemed necessary by the Lima Police Department “until such time that a final decision is rendered on a motion for preliminary and permanent injunctions.” Any person found inside the property may be arrested for criminal trespass.
A hearing has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 14 in Allen County Common Pleas Court on the merits of the city’s motion for a preliminary injunction.