Wednesday, July 05, 2000

Robber interrupts gathering

Man threatened to kill family, they say

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPRINGFIELD TWP. — A quiet holiday gathering on Fullerton Drive was interrupted by gunfire when an unexpected guest beat and robbed a family friend, threatened to kill everyone there, then fled on foot, police said.

        Officers weren't sure whom they were looking for Tuesday afternoon. They described the man as about 25 years old, wearing a tan hat and shirt and blue jeans. He was about 6 feet tall with a medium build and sported a goatee, police said.

        Homeowner Jonathan Jones, a 63-year-old retired auto worker, said the unidentified man claimed to be a friend of his son, who now lives in Detroit.

        Mr. Jones and his girlfriend, Diane Clements, were playing dominoes on the lower level of the house, in the 1700 block of Fullerton Drive, when someone let the man inside about 12:30 p.m., he said. Eight people were there at the time, including a 5-week-old baby and an 11-year-old boy.

        Mr. Jones said he and the man, who claimed he was just released from serving three years in prison, conversed for about 30 min utes.

        The situation soon went sour when the man turned his attention to Cortez Fairfield, 19, of Hamilton. Mr. Fairfield is the boyfriend of Ms. Clements' daughter.

        “He inquired about buying some drugs, and (Mr. Fairfield) said he didn't know anything about it,” township police Sgt. Ken Volz said.

        According to family members and police, the man pulled a gun, pushed Mr. Fairfield into a chair, pistol-whipped him in the head, and fired a shot. The shot hit the chair, Sgt. Volze said.

        Mr. Fairfield said the man robbed him of a ring and $400.

        “He shot at me when he real ized I didn't have anything more on me than I had. He said he was going to kill us all,” Mr. Fairfield told The Cincinnati Enquirer.

        Ms. Clements, 50, said she scampered upstairs to be with her daughters and grandchildren when the shooting started.

        The man escaped through the front door, but not before he apparently panicked when he encountered trouble unbolting the door's three locks.

        A group of frightened relatives was gathered in the living room, said Ms. Clements' 16-year-old daughter, Melinda Latscha.

        “He said, "If I don't get out of this (expletive) house, I'm going to kill you all,'” she said.


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