Man indicted in bar shooting, robbery

Attorney says he needs medications

WARREN — Eight shots were fired into the University At Larchmont tavern earlier this month and now the man who police said confessed to the drive-by shooting is facing eight counts of attempted murder, eight counts of felonious assault and one count of aggravated robbery, according to county prosecutors and court records.

Ryan Rulong, 27, was indicted Thursday in a special report by a Trumbull County grand jury.

The charge of aggravated robbery stems from a May 14 armed holdup at True North gas station in Howland, days after the May 10 drive-by shooting.

Warren attorney Michael Scala said his client, Rulong, who also is accused of shattering jail glass by punching it on Saturday when he wasn’t issued toilet paper quickly enough, has been on medication since he was a kid.

“My immediate goal is to get this young man’s medication straightened out. I understand he hasn’t been receiving the proper treatment since he was incarcerated,” Scala said.

The felonious assault charges and the attempted murder charges are alternates, so if the case were to play out and he was found guilty on those 16 charges, the judge would merge the convictions, said Scala and Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Becker.

“The facts are, we believe eight shots were fired. If you shoot eight times into a building, that is eight attempts at murder and eight felonious assaults,” Becker said.

But if he is convicted, Rulong could receive an automatic five-year sentence for the drive-by specification and an automatic three-year sentence for the gun specification alone, Becker said.

“He is looking at a lot of time,” Becker said.

Because of new sentencing guidelines set by the state, the exact amount of time Rulong is facing, if convicted, is uncertain, Becker said.

Rulong is scheduled to appear 10 a.m. today before Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Peter J. Kontos, where he is expected to enter a not guilty plea to the charges.

He is being held in the Trumbull County Jail in lieu of a $750,000 bond, which was set last week by Warren Municipal Court Judge Terry F. Ivanchak, according to court records.

Warren police Chief Eric Merkel said Rulong confessed to the shooting at the neighborhood bar after Howland police arrested him in connection to the robbery following a traffic stop of a white pickup police believe was used in both incidents. Rulong told investigators he did not have anything against the bar, but expressed anger at two men who he believed made fun of him when he fell over a railing surrounding the bar’s outdoor patio, according to a police report.

Three men inside the bar were treated at area hospitals for minor wounds.

Warren police on May 14 were in the process of getting a search warrant for the house where Rulong’s white pickup truck had been seen when they learned he may have been arrested in connection to the robbery at True North.

A man wearing a black hoodie, goggles and ski mask walked into the gas station with a silver Ruger .45-caliber handgun, pointed it at the cashier and demanded money. After receiving cash, the robber ran to his white pickup truck and drove away.

There was purple paint on the license plates, according to police radio traffic. A Howland police officer on traffic control spotted the truck, pulled it over and arrested the driver, later identified as Rulong.

Police said during that investigation, they found the gun they believe was used in the shooting and shell casings.

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