Friday, October 23, 2015

Investigation continues into American Grill shooting

Kaylea M. Hutson • khutson@grovesun.com

The investigation into the overnight shooting at the American Grill on Sunday, Oct. 11, continues, but has slowed.

Grove Police Chief Mark Morris said his detectives continue to follow up leads and are working with officials from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations to analyze evidence collected since the shooting.

Morris expects it will take some time for OSBI investigators to analyze the evidence.

During the incident, Todd Merrill, owner of American Grill, received a gunshot wound to his left leg. He told authorities that an unknown male confronted him at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, while Merrill was working late at the restaurant located at 1623 Main.

Morris said the unknown male allegedly entered the restaurant through the unlocked front door. He said the suspect apparently discovered Merrill’s presence in the restaurant as Merrill was in a hallway at the rear of the business, near the restrooms.

Morris said the suspect fired multiple shots from a gun, striking Merrill once in the left leg. The shooter then fled the scene and Merrill was able to call 911 for assistance. He was taken to Mercy Hospital in Joplin for treatment, which included eventual surgery. He has since been released and is recovering from his injury. He has not returned to work full-time yet.

Morris said it appears the suspect fled the scene without taking anything from the restaurant. He has declined to identify how many shots were fired, only stating the suspect fired his weapon multiple times.

Morris declined to identify the caliber of weapon used in the incident. The surgeon was able to recover the bullet, which struck Merrill’s leg, for detectives.

Because the incident took place in the dark, Merrill was unable to give law enforcement personnel a description beyond identifying the man’s gender. At this time the alleged suspect remains at large.

Morris said anyone with tips or information concerning this incident may contact the Grove Police Department at 918-786-6121. All information will be kept anonymous.

This story initially appeared in the Oct. 23 issue of The Grove Sun.

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