Argument led to coffee shop damage

by Wes Mayer

A man was arrested for aggravated assault after he struck another man with his vehicle in downtown Newnan early Thursday.

Around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Newnan Police officers responded to the West Court Square in reference to a person brandishing a knife. According to Officer Jody Stanford, while en route, officers were told a person was also struck by a vehicle.

Officers arrived to find a green Ford Explorer parked on the sidewalk in front of Ace Growlers, Stanford said. The front of Ace Growlers was damaged by the vehicle, but the coffee shop next door, The Leaf and Bean, suffered extensive damage – some of the front windows and the brick wall were shattered and the outdoor furniture mangled.

Both the victim and the suspect were still on scene. The victim was identified as Jason Kanner, one of the owners of Ace Growlers, and the suspect driver was identified as Anthony James Rodriguez, an assistant manager at Domino’s Pizza on West Washington Street.

According to Stanford, Kanner said he was struck by the vehicle, and he may have injured his wrist, but he refused medical treatment. Stanford noticed black marks on both Kanner’s knees.

Rodriguez told officers he was arguing with Kanner when Kanner produced a knife, Stanford said. After this, Rodriguez says he got into his vehicle, put it into reverse, backed out, pressed the accelerator again, and accidentally drove forward onto the sidewalk. Rodriguez told officers he thought the vehicle was still in reverse.

Both Kanner and Rodriguez told officers they were inside the Alamo nearby before the incident. Kanner said the two had a previous encounter about two years ago involving a female friend. On Thursday, Rodriguez approached Kanner and wanted to shake his hand. Kanner said he pushed Rodriguez’s hand away and left the restaurant.

Rodriguez then followed Kanner outside, asked him why he had a problem, and Kanner replied it was because of the previous incident two years ago, Stanford said. Kanner told officers this was the last thing he remembered before being struck by the vehicle.

Several witnesses told officers they observed Rodriguez back up, then put the vehicle in drive and strike Kanner, Stanford said.

Rodriguez was placed under arrest and charged with aggravated assault with other weapon – a vehicle – and criminal damage to property in the second degree. He was transported to Piedmont Newnan Hospital to be medically cleared, and then he was transported to the Coweta County Jail.

According to Stanford, at the hospital, Rodriguez told Officer Charles Beigle that he told Kanner he would shoot him, and Kanner replied that he had a bigger gun.

Cher McWilliams, owner of The Leaf and Bean, said the coffee shop will be closed while repairs are made.

UPDATE: As of Saturday morning, The Leaf and Bean is now open.



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