Tuesday, January 02, 2001

Man slain at Avondale bar

New Year's killing is 4th in row for city

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A fatal shooting outside a bar in Avondale and a stabbing in Mount Lookout were among the city's first crimes of the new year, marking a bloody beginning to 2001.

        Cincinnati police say a 24-year-old man was shot to death early Monday outside of Babe Baker's Cocktail Lounge on Reading Road. The city has now had four consecutive years with a New Year's Day homicide.

        Investigators say the homicide occurred just before 2 a.m. Police arrived to find Ruben Ballew, of Avondale, on the ground near the front door of the bar.

        He suffered a single gunshot wound to the head, and was tpronounced dead shortly after his arrival at University Hospital.

        Homicide detectives have charged Matthew Harper, 29, of Forest Park, with one count of murder in connection with the killing. Mr. Harper, who police say is Mr. Ballew's cousin, remains at-large and was last seen running out of the bar's front door.

        Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 352-3040. Callers may remain anonymous and receive compensation for their information.

        Investigators did not comment Monday about the events leading up to the shooting or a motive.

        Two hours later, a 35-year-old man was stabbed in front of a building in the 3100 block of Linwood Avenue in Mount Lookout. Police say Michael M. Vogel was stabbed repeatedly in the head, neck and stomach at 3:47 a.m.

        Sherman Holmes, 26, of the 3900 block of River Road in Riverside, was apprehended by police Monday and charged with felonious assault and unlawful restraint. Police say after the stabbing, Mr. Holmes fled to a United Dairy Farmers store on Linwood Avenue and threatened an employee in the store with the knife.

        Mr. Vogel was taken to University Hospital with multiple stab wounds. He was listed in fair condition.


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