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Shop owner takes aim at suspect

Alissa Widman Neese • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Bartt Carruthers ended 2013 like he began it: At the business end of a handgun.

Only this time, instead of being shot three times and carted off to the hospital near-dead, he was placed in handcuffs and hauled off to the county jail.

Carruthers, 50, was charged early Friday morning with disorderly conduct intoxicated and carrying a concealed weapon.

He allegedly entered True Innovations tattoo parlor on West Monroe Street after hours and pointed a handgun — later identified as a BB gun — at the owner, Michael Evans, according to a Sandusky police report.

Evans said he responded by pointing a 9mm handgun at Carruthers and pushing him out the door.

Some may recall Carruthers as the victim of a shooting in January at a Perkins Avenue car wash. He was shot three times in what police have said was a setup. Two of the three suspects in the car wash shooting are awaiting sentencing, while the alleged shooter is scheduled for trial in January.

This time around, however, Carruthers was treated as the perpetrator.

He was intoxicated at about 11:45 p.m. Thursday when he entered True Innovations long after the place had closed, according to the owner.

Evans said he was waiting for an after hours tattoo customer, and he had the front door unlocked when Carruthers was found rummaging around a counter near the cash register. Carruthers had what appeared to be a gun in his front coat pocket.

Evans said when he confronted him, Carruthers put his hand on the gun in his coat pocket and started to pull it out, prompting Evans to grab Carruthers’ wrist. Evans, who has a concealed-carry permit, reached into his own waistband and pulled out his 9 mm Taurus pistol. He then shoved Carruthers out of the store and locked the door.

While outside, Carruthers pulled out his gun and appeared to aim it at the window in the door, according to the police report.

“I ducked down and yelled for Liz (Barmess), a tattoo artist, to call police,” Evans said.

Carruthers took off on foot, heading west on Monroe Street, according to the report. Officers quickly arrested him a few blocks away, where they soon learned he was actually carrying a partially disassembled BB gun, as well as a pocket knife.

The police report detailing the incident didn’t mention Evans had a handgun of his own, nor did it mention Carruthers allegedly reached for his weapon while inside the tattoo parlor. It also didn’t indicate the shop was closed when Carruthers entered it. The report simply states Carruthers “walked up to the counter” while drunk, with a gun in his waistband.

“I give police credit for being on it right away; they did a good job getting him” Evans said. “But the report is a little off. He didn’t just wander in drunk”

Late Friday, Evans said he had already talked to night shift officers to amend the report. He also plans to discuss his options with the Erie County prosecutor about pursuing further criminal charges, and he wants to pursue a civil protection order against Carruthers.

Carruthers was arrested and taken to the county jail, but by 7:45 a.m. Friday he was released on his own recognizance, a jail guard said.

The case involving the car wash shooting is still playing out in court. The alleged shooter — Marcus Campbell, 26, of Sandusky — was arrested about four months after the shooting and charged with attempted murder, felonious assault, aggravated robbery and having weapons under disability. He’s scheduled for trial in January.

The two others involved are awaiting sentencing, according to Erie County Common Pleas Court records.

Theresa Purcell, 27, of Sandusky, pleaded guilty to complicity to commit attempted murder and complicity to commit aggravated robbery. She’s scheduled for sentencing in February.

Katie Wilson, 26, pleaded guilty to burglary, and a judge has recommended a sentence of eight years, as long she agrees to testify against Campbell at trial.

Carruthers was lured to the car wash when Wilson, his stepdaughter, offered to sell him prescription drugs, police have said. Wilson and Purcell allegedly helped plan the crime, but Campbell was the alleged triggerman.

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