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Gun found near tavern

March 03, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Borough police acting on a tip found a handgun on Tuesday that will be tested to determine if it was used in a fatal shooting at a downtown bar.

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Detective Sgt. Dianne Kelso said Wednesday that the .38-caliber handgun was found in a vacant lot near the intersection of Hollywell Avenue and South Street. The gun was found less than two blocks from Dave's Tavern, 401 S. Main St., where Drake Luckett was shot and killed on Monday.

Luckett, 34, of 217 Linden Ave., died of a gunshot wound to the chest. He was shot at 10:42 p.m. as he opened a door of the tavern facing West Catherine Street. He was pronounced dead at Chambersburg Hospital about 20 minutes later.

Witnesses at the tavern said Luckett had been arguing with Timothy J. Ross, 25, of 280 Miller St., before the shooting, according to court documents.

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Ross left through the side door.

When Luckett opened the door a short time later, several shots were fired, according to court documents.

Luckett's fiancee, Tami Lidie, said Luckett pushed her aside just before the shots were fired.

At 4:10 a.m. Tuesday, police stopped a car on North Franklin Street and arrested Ross, who was later charged with criminal homicide. He was being held in Franklin County Prison on Wednesday.

Kelso said police received a call from a resident at 5:42 p.m. Tuesday, who reported that a coat was lying in the lot. She said several rounds of ammunition were found in the pocket and police called in a K-9 unit.

The police dog, Cuba, found the gun buried under dirt and debris, the report said.

Asked what caliber weapon was used in the shooting, Kelso said that had not been determined. "We have recovered evidence that will be ballistically tested," she said.

The gun is also being sent to the Pennsylvania State Police Crime Lab to determine if it was the weapon used.

The shooting has prompted the Rev. W. Larry Johnson to schedule a community meeting for Monday, March 8, at 6 p.m. in the borough Recreation Center at 235 S. Third St.

Johnson said Tuesday he wants to close down the bar because of criminal activity in the area.

"How can we expect people to live as virtual prisoners in their homes. We've got to make this community safe for everybody," Johnson said Tuesday.

"I think they should close it. It causes too much havoc on Catherine Street," said Vanessa Grant, who lives across the street from the tavern at 9 W. Catherine St.

David Shields, of 34 W. Catherine St., said he would like to see the bar closed, although he said he has known the owner for years and doesn't blame him.

Tavern owner Ronald L. Kanner of Chambersburg could not be reached Wednesday. The person who answered the telephone at his house said he was out of town.

"It really starts to get rowdy" late at night outside the bar, Shields said.

Both Shields and Grant said problems on the street are worse in the summer than winter months.

"When it gets warm, it's really crazy out there," Grant said.

"There is a process the Liquor Control Enforcement Unit of the state police requires us to file when a business is declared a nuisance," Chambersburg Police Chief Michael T. DeFrank said Wednesday.

Criteria for declaring a business a nuisance include the number and type of police calls and community input, according to DeFrank. "It's a long, drawn-out process" involving the local police and municipality and the district attorney's office, he said.

Several years ago, the Madden Hotel on North Main Street, was declared a nuisance and closed, according to court records. It was later torn down.

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