The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


June 4, 2013

Scuffle leads to broken shop window

LEWISBURG — A scuffle that broke out between two men outside a city bar late Thursday night resulted in a shattered storefront window when one of the combatants apparently crashed through the glass.

The Lewisburg Police Department is investigating the Washington Street incident, Chief Tim Stover confirmed, saying, “As soon as we find out from the owners (of the damaged shop) how much the damages are, we’re going to make an arrest on charges of destruction of property.”

Stover declined to identify the person under suspicion, but said once the arrest occurs, all pertinent information will be released.

One of the owners of O’Shea’s Family Hair Salon, the store that was damaged, has been in discussions with city officials for the past two months regarding rowdy bar patrons disturbing the peace. Kim O’Shea lives in an apartment upstairs from her family-owned salon and told city council in April that she and her daughter are regularly disturbed by bar patrons congregating on the sidewalk in front of the shop, which is just a couple of doors down from a bar.

Since attending a private meeting with the mayor, the police chief and the bar’s owner nearly three weeks ago, O’Shea said, the late-night noise level had dropped significantly.

“The police have been much more present since that meeting,” O’Shea said Monday. “The police have been great. They’ve been making arrests, and the owner of the bar has been trying to get (patrons) to go out back to the alley to smoke.”

But, even as the noise level in general has dropped, it appears a certain element in the crowd is becoming “violent, aggressive,” O’Shea said, citing not only the Thursday night scuffle that ended with the shattering of a 6-foot by 8-foot window panel but also two other recent vandalism incidents in which an art gallery’s window was broken and glass panels in a nearby door were destroyed.

From an apartment window overlooking the sidewalk O’Shea also witnessed what appeared to her to be the savage beating of one female bar patron by another. That incident occurred about a month ago, she said.

Stover said O’Shea’s call about that last incident was answered by the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department, not city police. It was not immediately clear if any arrests were made in connection with that altercation.

The chief also gave an update during last month’s city council meeting on increased foot patrols by his officers. In that report, he mentioned that the owner of the bar that is located between O’Shea’s and City Hall has put up signs in her establishment encouraging patrons to go into the alleyway to smoke.

“I think we’ve still got a little ways to go,” Stover told council, noting his officers had made several arrests, charging people with public intoxication and related misdemeanors.

Kathnell O’Shea, another of the hair salon’s owners and Kim O’Shea’s mother, said Monday she does not yet have an estimate on the cost of damages done to her shop, pending a quote by a supplier of the custom-sized window glass that must be replaced. In addition to the window, the owners also will have to replace a child’s “Lego” play table that was under the window when it shattered.

“We don’t want to take a chance that a child would get hurt, and a sliver of glass could be hidden in a crevice of that table,” Kathnell O’Shea explained.

She said she was also thankful that the man who crashed through the window into the salon was not seriously injured.

“If one of those huge shards of glass had caught him in the wrong place, I don’t believe he would have survived,” she said.

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