Police: Man admits to shooting at University At Larchmont

Suspect also charged in theft at True North

Tribune Chronicle / Raymond L. Smith Brothers Rick Rolfe, left, and Mike Rolfe, owners of the University At Larchmont tavern in Warren, said during a press conference Wednesday at the Warren Police Department that Friday night’s shooting was “devastating” to the family-owned business that has not had any major problems since it opened in 2007. The UAL reopened on Wednesday after being closed since the shooting.

To see security video of the drive-by shooting Friday night at University At Larchmont tavern, click here.

WARREN — The man who police said confessed to firing multiple times into the University At Larchmont tavern in Warren during a drive-by shooting Friday night also is accused in a broad daylight armed robbery Tuesday afternoon at True North gas station in Howland.

Ryan Rulong, 27, has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of felonious assault in connection with Friday’s shooting at the bar, and one count of aggravated robbery in Tuesday’s holdup. Rulong is scheduled to be arraigned on all the charges in Warren Municipal Court today.

Both Warren and Howland police released surveillance video recordings of each of the crimes.

Warren police Chief Eric Merkel said Rulong confessed to the shooting at the neighborhood bar after Howland police arrested him for the robbery following a traffic stop of the white pickup used in both instances. 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.

Rulong, according to police, was in the bar about 20 minutes early Friday evening, when he drank two beers and two shots. He then wandered out to the patio and found there was no exit. Instead of walking back through bar area, Rulong attempted to hop the railing and fell to the ground, according to the police report.

When two patrons on the patio approached Rulong, words were exchanged. As Rulong walked across the street toward the house where his truck was parked, he smashed a beer bottle on on the street. More words were exchanged between the two men on the patio and Rulong, who was then standing in the middle of the street, the report states.

About 40 minutes later, Rulong’s white truck was seen backing out of the driveway of the house where he was parked. The truck headed away from the bar. About 30 minutes later, the truck drove by the University At Larchmont with someone firing into the patio area, police said.

About two minutes prior to the shooting, a large boom was heard and felt in the area. Michael Konitsney walked to the patio to check on his wife. When he opened the door, a hail of bullets hit the glass and wood door frame on both sides of his head, he told police.

He was hit with glass shards on his head and wood shards on his leg, according to Mike Rolfe, co-owner of UAL.

“We were told if he would have walked out a second one way or the other, it could have been deadly,” Rolfe said.

No one else on the patio was injured. However, three men inside the bar, Konitsney, Corey Reeder and James M. Grabosky, received minor wounds. All three men were treated and released the same night.

Rulong’s truck was identified as white, with a painted line across it and markings on its hood. On Tuesday, Warren police were in the process of getting a search warrant for the house where Rulong’s truck was seen coming from Friday night when they learned he may have been arrested in 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 some cash, the robber ran to his white pickup truck and drove away.

A Howland police officer on traffic control spotted the truck, pulled it over and arrested Rulong.

Police said during that investigation, they found the gun used in the shooting and shell casings. Police said the driver, later identified as Rulong, also admitted to the shooting at University At Larchmont.

Merkel said it was the cooperation of the Rolfes, witnesses and neighbors, as well as the Howland Police Department, that enabled them to find and arrest Rulong so quickly.

The attempted murder charges are based on the shots fired at the three people who were on the patio Friday night. The felonious assault charges are based on the wounds suffered by the three men, Merkel said.

Warren Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa said the UAL is a model, family-owned business that has not had any problems since Rolfes took over in 2007.

Rick Rolfe, and his brother, Mike, owners of the bar, said the shooting was devastating because they have worked hard to create a safe environment.

“We already have about 16 cameras in and around the bar,” Rick Rolfe said. “We’ve talked to the police and the administration about ways to increase security.”

UAL posted on its Facebook page Tuesday it decided to reopen Wednesday afternoon after meeting with the Warren Police Department and other city officials.

“We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of love and support shown by all of our families, faithful patrons and friends,” the post read.