Columbus man indicted in Delaware shooting


A Columbus man was indicted Friday by a Delaware County grand jury on felonious assault and aggravated robbery charges after authorities say he shot and wounded a man in Delaware on March 4.

William Devan Lassiter, 34, of Columbus, was indicted on a charge of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony; a charge of felonious assault, a second-degree felony; and a charge of theft, a fifth-degree felony.

Lassiter allegedly went to the 286 Hickory Lane residence of William Sims, 39, and planned to purchase a dog from him, police said. Sims is a dog breeder and had arranged to sell Lassiter a puppy, police said. However, during their meeting, police said the transaction went awry and Lassiter pulled out a handgun and shot Sims in the leg.

The aggravated robbery and felonious assault charges both carry firearm specifications, indicating that he used a handgun to commit the offenses. Prosecutors said these specifications could add additional time to any sentence Lassiter would receive if convicted.

An arraignment in Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley’s court has not been scheduled yet.

Lassiter was in the Delaware County jail Friday after his bail was set at $100,000 by Delaware Municipal Judge Marianne Hemmeter on Monday.

Police said Lassiter took Sims’ phone, some money and paperwork related to owning dogs, and left in a car with another man.

Without his phone to call for help, police said Sims made his way to the road where he flagged down a woman traveling east on Pennsylvania Avenue. The woman then called police.

Sims was taken to Grant Medical Center and Delaware County sheriff’s deputies pulled over a car matching the description of the suspects’ car in the area of Polaris and Interstate 71.

Police said Monday that Sims had been released from the hospital.

Police detained Lassiter and a passenger in his car but ultimately did not charge the other man. Police did not release the passenger’s name because he was not charged.

Because the shooting scene is just blocks away from Carlisle Elementary School and Dempsey Middle School, Delaware City Schools officials placed both schools on lockdown as a precaution.


By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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