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Charges dropped against 3 suspects in shooting at Jilly's Restaurant and Tavern in Luzerne

| Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Criminal charges filed against three men in connection with a shooting at a Fayette County bar were withdrawn on Monday, but two other men who police said fired handguns into the tavern waived their right to preliminary hearings.

Charges of riot, simple assault and conspiracy were withdrawn against Allen Brandon Dade, 31, and Gregory D. Hackett Jr., 31, both of Brownsville, and Richard Allen Grooms, 30, of Allison in connection with the Dec. 22 shooting at Jilly's Restaurant and Tavern in Luzerne.

Paris Brown, 35, of Hiller, and Damion Ethridge, 33, of Brownsville, waived their rights to hearings before Redstone District Judge Mike Defino Jr. on more serious charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.

Assistant District Attorney Anthony Iannamorelli declined comment on the withdrawn charges and would not reveal terms of a tentative plea bargain with Brown and Ethridge.

Attorneys for Brown and Ethridge, R. Blaine Jones II and Charles C. Gallo of Pittsburgh, declined comment on the plea deal.

“Our biggest concern today was the health of the victim,” said Gallo after his clients waived their hearing rights. “We wish her well and a full, speedy recovery.”

Two of the bar‘s patrons, Cassandra Ross, 30, of Brownsville and Garrett Grooms, 26, of Cardale were struck by bullets and were taken to Uniontown Hospital, according to state police. Ross was later transported to a Pittsburgh hospital.

The incident started about 2 a.m. at the tavern on First Street. After Brown and Ethridge were ejected from the bar for fighting, they fired semiautomatic handguns through the front door, police said.

Brown was assaulted during the fight inside, police said.

Ethridge, who was waiting outside, allegedly fired shots through the front door of the bar after Brown was thrown out, and Brown allegedly entered the bar and fired shots.

Brown and Ethridge first ran, then escaped in a van, police said. They were arrested on Frick Street after a short foot pursuit, police said. Two guns with live rounds were recovered nearby.

Brown and Ethridge are charged with four counts of aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. Both are in the Fayette County jail in lieu of $50,000 bond.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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