Sunday, May 11, 2003

Activist's bond set in bar shooting

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer


The neighborhood watch activist who critically injured an armed robber inside a Northside bar returned to jail Saturday after an appearance in Hamilton County Municipal Court.

Judge Karla Grady set Harold McKinney's bond at $25,000 even though his attorney, Mark Naegel, vouched that his client should be released because of his outstanding character.

McKinney, 54, of Northside, served in the Army and attended the University of Cincinnati and Western Hills High School, Naegel said.

McKinney, a member of Cincinnati's Citizens on Patrol Program (COPP), remained in the Hamilton County jail on Saturday, facing charges of felonious assault and carrying a weapon in a tavern.

The more than 500 COPP members walk the streets of 21 neighborhoods, armed with nothing more than police radios and cell phones. COPP members, they say, learn quickly that they must never carry weapons and never intervene in a crime in progress.

But, "these were armed robbers who entered this tavern," said Naegel. "They were threatening all the people inside there. Harold was one of the people threatened."

According to Cincinnati Police, McKinney was carrying a semiautomatic pistol at Junker's Tavern on Langland Avenue after 11 p.m. Thursday.

When two masked men entered waving handguns, he shot one in the head, police said.

Joseph Person, 18, was taken to University Hospital in critical condition. He faces two counts of aggravated robbery.

His alleged partner, DeMeico Hester, 18, was discovered at a nearby coin laundry, police said. He remained at the Hamilton County jail on charges of aggravated robbery.

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