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Filipino held without bail in Ohio shootings that killed three

/ 07:02 AM March 19, 2014

Shooting suspect Igmidio Mista in police custody.

FREMONT, Ohio — A 33-year-old Filipino was arrested by police and held in jail without bail in connection with a shooting at a bar in early morning on March 9 in Fremont, Ohio, that left three people dead and another wounded.

Fremont police said Igmidio Mista was arrested Monday morning, March 10, and arraigned on three counts of first degree murder at a hearing that same afternoon before Fremont Municipal Court Judge Bob Hart, who set a preliminary hearing for Mista on March 20 and ordered him held without bail at the Sandusky Country Jail.

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Mista, who told Philippine consular officials that he came to the United States as a 20-year-old, was charged for the alleged shooting of Jose Andy Chavez, 26, an off-duty Elmore police officer; bartender Ramiro Sanchez, 28; and bar customer Daniel Ramirez, 25.

Investigators said a fourth victim, Ramiro Arreola, 25, was shot and injured in the incident that took place at the Last Call Bar at around 1:25 a.m. Sunday. Arreola was later released after being treated at a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

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Police said they received a 911 call at about 1:25 a.m. Sunday and promptly responded to the bar within four minutes.

Arreola, who was shot in the shoulder, told investigators that an altercation broke out between two men that led to a fight.

After the altercation, Arreola said a man pulled out a gun and fired five shots, killing three and wounding Arreola.

“Due to access to weapons, the weight of the evidence against the defendant and the confirmation of the defendant’s identity, it is necessary to prevent him from being released,” Fremont Law Director Jim Melle said at the hearing.

“We’re asking for preventative detention — no bond — for the safety of the citizens of Fremont and the community.”

Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim of the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago — which has jurisdiction over Filipinos in the Midwest, including Ohio — on Wednesday told FilAm Stars he has reached out to Mista to extend possible assistance, such as getting a lawyer and assuring his rights are respected.

Deputy ConGen Romulo Victor Israel Jr. said in a separate interview that Mista told them that he was originally from Manila and came to America as a tourist in 2000.

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“He (Mista) told us he works at a local tomato factory and that his mother works in Germany,” Israel said by phone.

Israel said their records showed that Mista renewed his Philippine passport in 2011.

Because of the nature of his alleged offense, Mista was placed in a separate cell away from the general jail population after his arraignment Monday afternoon.

Sandusky Country Jail Capt. Mark Fisher told local news outlet TheNewsMessenger.com Wednesday that Mista will be monitored regularly as a precaution because of the nature of his alleged crime.

Fisher said that Mista was not on suicide watch, was cooperative with corrections officers, and has not demonstrated any signs of mental illness.

Fisher explained that putting Mista in administrative segregation was consistent with the nature of the crime with which is he charged.

“We’re not treating him any different than anyone else that would come in for that type of crime that he was charged with,” Fisher was quoted by The News-Messenger staff writer Chike Erokwu. “That’s just our policy.”

Mista denied involvement in the shooting when he spoke with Philippine consular officers, and he claimed to have left Last Call Bar soon after a scuffle broke out in the bar past midnight.

Fremont police began searching for the shooter Sunday with the help of the U.S. Marshals Service and the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force.

Fremont Police Department chief Tim Weirsma said the search for the suspect ended Monday morning when they arrested Mista at about 9:29 in the morning at place not far from the crime scene.

According to a news release, police found Mista in a residence at 611 S. Park Ave., about half mile away from Last Call Bar.

Police knocked and met one of Mista’s relatives. Mista came out of the house while officers were on the porch and gave himself up without incident.

Weirsma said Mista has had minor run-ins with law enforcement in the past.

In 2012, Mista performed two hours of community service and paid $100 fine after getting a citation for littering, open container, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

And in 2010, Mista entered into a plea agreement, which dismissed charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct while intoxicated.

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TAGS: arrests, Crimes, homicides, Igmidio Mista
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