Howland man charged in fatal shooting

Warren man killed outside of Niles bar

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple An Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation crime scene unit sits outside Madden’s Bar & Grill along U.S. Route 422 in Niles after a fatal shooting just before 2 a.m. behind the bar. A Howland man is in custody and charged with murder.

NILES — A Howland man was charged with the early Monday shooting that left Clayton L. Bender, 23, of Warren, dead outside of Madden’s Bar & Grill.

Robin Luke Caviness Jr., 38, of Howland, was taken into custody Monday evening and charged with murder, with more charges expected, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. A firearm also was recovered, marshals said.

Police say that shortly before 2 a.m., Caviness fired a half dozen shots into a black Cadillac in a parking lot outside Madden’s Bar & Grill, fatally wounding Bender, who was in the back seat. Police say Caviness and three other people took off in a black pickup truck.

Police did not say whether the other three people are in custody or if they will be charged.

Emad Aburahma, owner of Madden’s, 5616 Youngstown Warren Road, said he closed the bar at about 1:15 a.m. after shutting down a get-together of about 20 to 25 people. Aburahma said about a half hour later, as he and an employee were cleaning, he heard an argument outside his office window. He saw three white males and a woman in a pickup arguing with two black males in a 1994 black Cadillac, he said.

A few moments later, one of the people from the truck pulled a gun and fired six shots into the car, Aburahma said.

He called 911.

Aburahma said the pickup was parked behind Handel’s Ice Cream, 5140 Youngstown Warren Road, when he made the call. The truck pulled onto U.S. Route 422, turned right and headed east toward Eastwood Mall.

After the truck pulled away, Aburahma went to the Cadillac to see if anyone was injured, he said. He said he knew the men in the front of the car.

“I didn’t know there was someone else in the back seat of the car,” he said.

The car’s rear window had been shot out, he said. He said he did not recognize the injured man.

The victim, later identified as Bender, was still awake and breathing but was not able to talk. He had been shot in the neck.

A rescue crew took Bender to Trumbull Memorial Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Police said Bender’s body was sent to Cuyahoga County for an autopsy.

Police searched the area for several hours looking for the suspects in the shooting.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is assisting in the investigation, and officers are studying video images recorded by area cameras.

Aburahma said he has owned Madden’s Bar & Grill for nearly two years.

“We’ve never had a problem,” he said. “This was not something that started in the bar. We did not have an altercation in the bar.”

Niles police detective Ron Wright said there hasn’t been trouble with the bar in the past. The business usually is closed at that hour on a Sunday, but this was a private party, Wright said.

Dannette Gibson, an owner of Treasures Flea Market, adjacent to Madden’s, said the bar itself has not been problematic, though there are some questionable activity in area parking lots.

In a related incident, a Howland police cruiser responding to the shooting call collided with a civilian vehicle. Officer Rick Mahan was driving east on U.S. Route 422 with the vehicle’s lights and siren when the accident happened, according to a police report.

“There were no significant injuries,” Howland police Chief Nick Roberts said. “An insurance adjuster must determine the level of damage to our vehicle. Most of the damage was on the cruiser’s front driver’s side. I think it may have been totaled.”

Mahan was treated and released from a local hospital, receiving a few bumps and bruises, according to the report.

The department has 13 marked vehicles. He will have to share a vehicle.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol has not released a report on the cause of the crash or the extent of injuries of the those in the second vehicle.

Tribune Chronicle reporter Renee Fox contributed to this report.

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