CUYAHOGA FALLS — What happened to the bullet?
Police say they don’t know were it landed, but statements from witnesses were enough to get a State Road pizza restaurant owner indicted on a felony charge for allegedly firing his handgun after chasing a thief from his restaurant in August.
Police Capt. Steve Guldeman said Wednesday that an investigation determined 52-year-old Center Avenue resident Jeffrey A. Straughan allegedly fired his .45-caliber handgun into the air from an Arby’s restaurant’s parking lot on the east side of State Road around 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 14. Police say they believe Straughan pointed the gun across the road in the direction of the Cathedral Buffet restaurant.
"We were not able to recover a bullet so we’re not sure where it went," said Guldeman. "We don’t know whether it broke up or if it bounced off something and landed somewhere else."
According to Summit County Court of Common Pleas records, a grand jury indicted Straughan on charges of second-degree felony assault with a firearm specification and first-degree misdemeanor aggravated menacing. The indictment was filed Oct. 2 and Straughan pleaded not guilty to the charges at his Oct. 5 arraignment.
Police said Straughan chased, then confronted a 38-year-old Akron man outside the Arby’s restaurant at 2685 State Road after the Akron man stole $1 from Straughan’s East of Chicago Pizza franchise about a block away. The Akron man, who was charged with first-degree misdemeanor theft, said Straughan pulled out a gun and fired it in the Akron man’s direction. Police said no one was injured in the altercation.
John Chapman, Straughan’s attorney, said Straughan maintains he was justified because he was defending himself.
According to Stow Municipal Court records, the Akron man pleaded guilty to the theft charge Aug. 29 and was fined $100, of which $75 was suspended. A letter was sent Oct. 5 notifying him that he was in default and owed $383, including court costs.
Following a review by the city’s law department, Straughan was charged with second-degree felony assault in Stow Municipal Court on Aug. 24. Straughan turned himself in at the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department that day and released from Summit County Jail on a 10 percent of $25,000 bond on Aug. 29.
Straughan, a Marine Corps veteran, was honored along with his wife in 2015 when Broad Boulevard was temporarily renamed in their honor for work they have done in the community to help people in need, including donating toys and other supplies, feeding the homeless in the restaurant and providing help to other veterans.
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JeffSaunders_RP.