Ohio News Briefs

Fire destroys dining lodge at Hocking Hills State Park

LOGAN, Ohio (AP) — Investigators are looking for the cause of a fire that destroyed a dining lodge at Hocking Hills State Park in southeastern Ohio.

No one was hurt in the fire that began Thursday morning before the restaurant had opened.

The Hocking Hills Dining Lodge sits at the western end of the state park that draws more than 1 million people each year.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says it plans to rebuild the dining lodge. It opened in 1972.

Authorities say a construction crew working on the lodge roof first noticed smoke Thursday morning.

Columbus gang member facing life sentence after conviction

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The final member of a ruthless Columbus street gang charged in a federal racketeering case has been convicted on all counts and will be sentenced to serve life in prison.

Twenty-four-year-old Johnathan “Dough Boy” Holt was found guilty Thursday of all offenses stemming from an October 2014 indictment that charged him with murder, drug trafficking and robbery along with several other crimes.

Prosecutors say the Short North Posse member might have been freed after 23 years if not for his defiant attitude and refusal to accept a plea deal last month.

Holt was implicated in the robbery and fatal shooting of 31-year-old Quincy Battle at his Near East Side home in March 2010.

Authorities have charged more than 100 Short North Posse members in Ohio over the past 25 years.

Ohio teacher catches kindergartners playing with loaded gun

NORTH COLLEGE HILL, Ohio (AP) — Police in suburban Cincinnati are trying to figure out how a loaded gun got into the hands of four or five kindergarten students who were caught playing with the weapon.

A student at North College Hill Elementary School in Hamilton County alerted a teacher that several children were playing with a gun during dismissal on Wednesday afternoon.

The teacher confiscated the firearm, which is now in the possession of local police. Superintendent Eugene Blalock says the weapon was a small, semi-automatic handgun.

Blalock says the gun might have looked like a toy to some kids, but it definitely was a real weapon. Two bullets were found in the gun’s clip, but none were in the chamber.

Police say no threats were made and no injuries were reported.

Authorities ID Hudson officer who killed Emirati suspect

HUDSON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities in Ohio have released the identity of the Hudson police officer who fatally shot a United Arab Emirates citizen who police say fled after causing a crash on the Ohio Turnpike.

City records released Thursday say Officer Ryan Doran killed 26-year-old Saif Nasser Mubarak Alameri following a struggle in a wooded area near the highway.

The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office found that Alameri died of a gunshot wound to his head. The death is listed as a homicide.

Doran is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting, which made headlines in Alameri’s native country on the Arabian Peninsula.

Authorities also released dashboard camera footage of the incident. In the video Doran can be heard warning Alameri that he will shoot him if he doesn’t stop.

Ohio patrol effort nets over 330 impaired driver arrests

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State Highway Patrol troopers in Ohio arrested more than 300 drivers for driving under the influence during the latest multi-state enforcement effort involving Ohio troopers and their counterparts in five other states.

The enforcement by the 6-State Trooper Project focused on removing impaired drivers from the roads.

The project’s latest effort began Dec. 2 and ended Dec. 4. It included targeted enforcement by Ohio’s patrol and state police agencies from Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The 6-State Trooper Project is a multi-state law enforcement partnership aimed at providing combined and coordinated law enforcement and security services in the areas of highway safety, criminal patrol and intelligence sharing.

Ohio patrol seizes estimated $1M in meth during traffic stop

EATON, Ohio (AP) — The State Highway Patrol says Ohio troopers seized nearly 27 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $1 million during a traffic stop that led to the arrest of two northern California residents.

The patrol says the methamphetamine was found with the help of a drug-sniffing dog after a driver was stopped for a turn-signal violation on Interstate 70 in far western Ohio last Friday.

The patrol identified the driver as 26-year-old Fidel Rodriguez Gomez from Gridley, California. Authorities said the passenger was 28-year-old Bridget Morales from Yuba City, California.

Court records show that Gomez and Morales were each charged with aggravated possession of drugs and possession of criminal tools. The records do not show attorneys for either Gomez or Morales.

3 Cleveland juvenile court staff off job after investigation

CLEVELAND (AP) — Two Cleveland-area juvenile court magistrates accused of misrepresenting the hours they worked are no longer on the job, and the director of the court’s Psycho Diagnostic Clinic has resigned after an investigation revealed he wasn’t a licensed psychologist.

Cleveland.com reports an internal investigation determined two longtime magistrates from Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court indicated on timecards that they were working when they really weren’t at the courthouse. One was fired in September, and the other resigned.

The investigation was sent to the prosecutor’s office to consider possible criminal charges.

The clinic director resigned Dec. 1 after a separate investigation found issue with his licensure and his use of his courthouse office as his private practice.

Cleveland.com says he declined to comment, and the former magistrates didn’t respond to messages.