Lee Road business owner Jim Brennan shot and killed on June 30

A memorial to Jim Brennan began to appear outside of Brennan's Colony on Monday evening. [Photo by Rebecca Taylor-Norton.]

On Monday, June 30, Jim Brennan, owner of Brennan’s Colony, was shot at his Lee Road restaurant in an attempted robbery.

At approximately 1 p.m., Cleveland Heights police responded to 911 calls reporting that shots had been fired. Paramedics attended to Brennan and transported him to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he later died.

Police are seeking two suspects, described in the CH Police Department's news release as black males between the ages of 17 and 21, who fled on foot from the rear of the restaurant, east on Silsby Road. The suspects are still at large. Anyone with information is asked to contact the police department at 216-321-1234 or 216-291-5010.

On Monday evening, the City of Cleveland Heights posted a statement on its website, mourning “the senseless shooting of The Colony’s Jim Brennan.”

Mayor Dennis Wilcox called Jim Brennan a “true leader” in the community, and said, “His enthusiasm for people, especially for children and families, made such a difference. His Colony Restaurant was the ‘go to place’ after softball games, CYO [Catholic Youth Organization] tournaments and always a welcoming place for a good meal and good conversation. Jim hosted many charity and sports fundraisers including the annual Officer Jason West Scholarship Fund. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and his many friends. The City Council has authorized the City Manager and the Police Chief to use all available resources to bring those who committed this crime to justice."

John Zagara, owner of Zagara’s Marketplace and president of the Cedar Lee Special Improvement District, called Jim Brennan “a great friend to many in the neighborhood.” In a written statement, Zagara said, “This news strikes at our hearts and will bring tears to many eyes across the Heights. We submit our prayers to Jim’s family and friends tonight and for the days to come as they reconcile his memory and this tragic occurrence.

“While we mourn, we must keep this tragedy in its proper context. In this particular case, we hope the police catch and our courts prosecute the criminal(s). We also hope Clevelanders understand that this is clearly a random act of violence and that the Cedar Lee shopping district remains safe. Simply, walk down the sidewalks of Lee Road on any given night and the street teems with neighbors and suburbanites enjoying our many restaurants, bars and, of course, our beloved Cedar Lee Theatre.

“The best way to honor Jim Brennan’s memory is to reject the views of those who want to use this situation to reinforce negative and incorrect opinions about the Cedar Lee shopping district. Jim’s death should not and cannot be minimized, but a random act of violence does not define our neighborhood.

“We also need to come together to make sure the other establishments on Lee Road do not suffer—and the best way to do that is to come out tonight and tomorrow night and each night after and fill the streets of Cedar Lee with people.”

An interfaith community vigil in honor of Jim Brennan is planned for tonight, July 1, at 7 p.m., at the corner of Meadowbrook Boulevard and Lee Road. There will be free parking at Cedar and Lee roads after 6 p.m. In case of rain, the vigil will be moved to the Cedar Lee parking garage.

Kim Sergio Inglis

Kim Sergio Inglis is editor-in-chief of the Heights Observer. She lives in the Shaker Farm Historic District in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 2:13 PM, 07.01.2014