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Man charged in deadly Cleveland bar shooting arrested in Phoenix

September 5, 2018

Man charged in deadly Cleveland bar shooting arrested in Phoenix

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Phoenix man charged in connection with a fatal shooting at a now-defunct Cleveland bar was arrested Thursday in Arizona, officials said.

U.S. Marshals arrested Joshua Walker, 34, in Phoenix, officials said. Investigators in Phoenix spotted his car driving on Interstate 17 and stopped him, the U.S. Marshals said in a news released.

He was arrested without incident and is awaiting extradition to Cleveland.

Walker is charged with aggravated murder in the Oct. 25 fatal shooting of Aaron Mason at Westender’s bar on Lorain Avenue and West 116th Street.

Witnesses told police that Mason was drinking at the bar with a 41-year-old Lakewood woman who worked there but was off at the time, police reports say.

A man walked into the bar, went to the bathroom and said to Mason: “Y’all are really watching me, huh?” Mason acted strange shortly after the man left the bar, the Lakewood woman told police.

Mason told the woman that, “She didn’t know everything and that they were waiting for him outside,” police reports say.

Shortly after, Walker walked into the bar and sat on a stool near the door, according to police reports.

Mason walked over to Walker and punched him as he sat on the stool, police reports say. The two fought and the fight spilled out onto the sidewalk, according to police.

The two wrestled, when witnesses reported hearing three gunshots and seeing the gunman, later identified as Walker, run away, according to police reports.

Police found Mason unconscious but still breathing while laying on his back. He had a gunshot wound to the stomach, about an inch below his belly button, and another in the right leg, police reports say.

Officers reported finding a baggie of crack cocaine and one of suspected ecstasy tucked in the groin area in Mason’s jeans, according to police reports. Walker left behind a cellphone that linked him to the crime, according to court records. 

The shooting happened 14 months after Cleveland City Councilwoman Dona Brady tried to get the bar shut down after some 60 police incidents at the bar in a two-year span that included three shootings and several brawls, some of which left patrons and bar employees bloodied.

A court sided with the city’s nuisance complaint and the bar was shuttered shortly after the fatal shooting.

Brady previously said that building owner had promised to bring in other types of businesses and would not lease the space to another bar. Court records filed last month, however, said the building’s owner is selling the building and that the potential owners plan to put another bar where Westenders used to be.

City attorneys on Aug. 5 asked Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Cassandra Collier-Williams to grant a permanent injunction that would ban the owners from opening a new bar in the same space.

Collier-Williams has not yet ruled on the motion.

To comment on this story, visit Wednesday’s crime and courts comments page.

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