- Associated Press - Thursday, July 13, 2017

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - A business in northeastern Indiana will soon begin demolition on a shuttered bar where three men were fatally shot in September.

Deister Machine Co. bought the old Sports and Spirits bar, which has been closed since the 2016 shooting. Company president Mark Deister said he plans to turn the property into a small green space with a memorial.

“It will be better for the community if the building is demolished,” Deister said.

A company spokesman said demolition will begin sometime next week. The company also will hold a memorial service to remember those who were killed.

Larry Owen, facilities manager for the company, said the park will be a little corner of peace.

Fort Wayne Police Department records show officers were called to the bar more than 430 times over the past 10 years for shootings, stabbings and bar fights.

The violence led the Allen County Alcoholic Beverage Commission to revoke the bar’s liquor permit in 2014. The bar owner and state officials fought over the license for two years before Deister purchased the bar.

Deister said he hopes the demolition will turn a negative situation into a positive one.

Desiter Machine Co. makes equipment for mines and quarries. It employs 270 people at four different facilities in the neighborhood.

The company made moves to purchase the bar after the September shooting. In March, the company asked the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals for permission to build a 17-foot electronic sign advertising the company at the location, but later withdrew the request without an explanation.



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