Relatives of a man killed in a Main Street bar shooting that injured three others said he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ernest Edwards, 34, of Springfield, died from a gunshot wound, said Springfield police Chief Steve Moody. Edwards was reportedly shot while inside the Nite Owl bar, 601 W. Main St., after a fight broke out and someone started firing.
Police are still investigating.
According to radio traffic obtained by the Springfield News-Sun, officers reported to dispatchers that Edwards had been shot in the head. Additional units from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Ohio State Highway Patrol were requested to help control the scene at the bar and at Springfield Regional Medical Center, where a large crowd had formed after three other people arrived with gunshot wounds.
One of those victims, 23-year-old Joshua Clay, was taken via medical helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital, where he was treated for a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He was released Monday, according to hospital officials.
Lt. Noel Lopez said the investigation is ongoing and could not release a suspect description. However, officers at the scene told dispatchers that the suspect was a young black male, about 5 foot, 7 inches tall with short dark hair, mustache and goatee. He was reportedly wearing all black clothing and was armed with a black 9mm handgun, according to police radio traffic.
Officers have not indicated if Edwards was the shooter’s intended target. However, Star Pennington, his cousin, said she believes Edwards was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I don’t know what were the circumstances, but everyone is telling us he had nothing to do with it at all. He was just an innocent bystander,” Pennington said.
Edwards was described by his family as a “good, big-hearted person” who enjoyed barbecuing and who was planning a large Super Bowl party for this weekend.
Originally from Chicago, Edwards moved his wife, Alicia, and two children, 15-year-old Nakiya and 10-year-old Ernest Jr., to Springfield so they could live in a safer neighborhood, Pennington said.
“We moved here to be safe,” she said. “(Yesterday) his son came upstairs and dropped on the floor and started screaming, ‘Mommy, he’s gone! Daddy’s gone!’ and we couldn’t believe it.”
Edwards’ wife is still in disbelief, said Sharon Whitley, his mother-in-law. It’s the family’s hope that the person responsible for his death will come forward.
“He needs to repent,” Whitley said of the shooter.