The Clewiston News

Bar owner wrestles gun from man’s hand

Nathan Kennedy

A fight at a local bar that ended with a man brandishing a handgun was diffused thanks to quick-thinking from the bar’s owner and patrons.

Nathan Kennedy, 31, formerly of Clewiston, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony, improper exhibition of firearms, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, escape, resisting arrest without violence and disorderly intoxication after an alleged confrontation escalated on Halloween night.

According to an arrest report released by the Clewiston Police Department, Kennedy was asked to leave the bar when he became disruptive to other patrons.

Bar owner Bobby Mitchell said Kennedy was jumping around and yelling when he was told he had to leave. Kennedy allegedly started yelling at the bouncer and, according to witness statements, threatened to shoot the bouncer before pulling out a gun from his waistband.

At that point, Mitchell and a 22-year-old patron reportedly grabbed Kennedy and got him out the back door of the bar before wrestling the gun from his hand. Mitchell reportedly unloaded the black Rossi .38 revolver before police arrived.

Mitchell said at first he did not know there was a gun involved.

“It just happened so fast. I just did what I did. I wasn’t trying to be a hero,” said Mitchell. “I’ve owned that bar for eight years. We’ve never had anything like that. We’ve had disturbances but we usually handle them. And we handled that one. Thank God, because that could have been a lot worse.”

Kennedy was reportedly walking through the parking lot when officers arrived. When they confronted him, it is reported Kennedy said he did not do anything and would not talk to the officers because they were white and his cousin was just killed by a white police officer.

Officers reportedly cornered him between a car and a fence in the back parking lot of the bar and put him in handcuffs.

As officers took witness statements, Hendry County sheriff’s deputies parked behind the patrol car Kennedy was placed in allegedly saw him climb out of the car with only one handcuff on.

Deputies ordered Kennedy to the ground and recuffed him. According to the report, Kennedy said he was able to slide his hand out of one handcuff because it was placed on top of his long-sleeved shirt and watch.

Kennedy was transferred to the Hendry County Jail in the early morning hours of Nov. 1 and released the same day on a $35,000 bond.