WILKES-BARRE – Three people were injured in a shooting early Saturday morning inside Mulligan's Irish Pub, 41 S. Main St.
The suspected shooter, Stefan Smith, 21, of Wilkes-Barre, was arrested in a vehicle near the bar shortly after the shooting, police said.
According to police, officers were on their way to the area of the bar to investigate a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle when Luzerne County 911 received calls reporting gunshots fired at 1:58 a.m.
All city units on duty responded to the area and were directed by witnesses to a vehicle parked nearby in which two men were sitting, police said.
Police shut down traffic around the bar, including on Public Square, while investigating the shooting, said a woman who said she was near the bar during the incident.
Multiple witnesses identified the two men as being involved in the shooting, police said.
Both were taken into custody, and Smith was charged with two counts of felony aggravated assault and a single misdemeanor count of simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
He was arraigned overnight at Luzerne County Correctional Facility, where he is being held for lack of $750,000 monetary bail. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for November 20 at 10 a.m. before District Judge Rick Cronauer, Wilkes-Barre.
Police did not name the second suspect.
Police said three people reported injuries in relation to the shooting. One was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries while a second was treated on scene but refused medical transport. Police identified those victims as Anthony Rossi of Plymouth and Joseph Rutkoski of Edwardsville.
A third victim sustained a very minor injury and was not identified by police.
The shooting was the second in less than a month at the complex of bars operated by Kamionka Entertainment Group on South Main Street, which also includes The Hardware Bar.
On Oct. 14, 23-year-old Jeremy Perez of Sweetwater, Texas, was shot near The Hardware Bar. Police said Perez became involved in an altercation with several people after he bumped into a man while walking into the bar. One of the men shot Perez in the leg outside the bar, police said.
Police said Perez was at Mulligan's prior to walking across the street to The Hardware Bar. He was treated by Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center and later released.
No arrests have been made in connection with that incident.
Ron Kamionka, owner of Kamionka Entertainment Group, did not respond to a request for comment.
Charlotte Raup, president of the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition, said the South Main Street bars have been a source of constant issues, including fights and public drunkenness, and are not the revitalization we thought was going to happen.
I have a crime watch down at Provincial Tower; they're horrified, she said. There's always been bars downtown, but there were never problems like this.
The city should take stronger action against The Hardware Bar and the surrounding Kamionka properties because incidents like the shooting draw police resources downtown and away from the city's other neighborhoods, she said.
They should close them down, Raup said. What is the amount of shootings that we need to shut down a bar?
Mayor Thomas Leighton said he and his administration are greatly concerned about acts of violence in our city and city officials will take any necessary actions to prevent these types of incidents from occurring again.
Leighton said police are continuing investigation into the causes of the shooting.
City police were assisted in their investigation Saturday morning by officers from the Edwardsville, Hanover Township, Kingston and Wilkes-Barre Township police departments and by state police.