Chelsea Miller and Brad Dicken, The Chronicle-Telegram
LORAIN — A Lorain man was arrested and charged with the murder of Herman Seagers, who was fatally shot Tuesday morning at Liberty Gas.
Police say Desmen Noble, 31, fired shots into a crowd at the gas station on Broadway, striking Seagers and three other men. The incident started after a confrontation at the Cotton Club, where shots were fired outside at 3:25 a.m., said police spokesman Lt. Roger Watkins.
Watkins said he does not believe Seagers was the intended target. He was unable to say whether Seagers had been at the Cotton Club, an after-hours club.
According to a friend of Seagers, Narisa McCall, Seagers had been purchasing cigarettes at Liberty Gas and had not been to any bars the night of his murder. She said Seagers, 33, was an innocent bystander.
Three other men who were shot — Tallis Moore, 33, Allen Tate, 34, and Damien Bell, 25 — all told police they did not know who the shooter was and could not provide any information about the shooting, according to a police report.
Moore told police he had been at the Cotton Club but was exiting his vehicle when the shooting occurred. Tate and Bell said they were filling their vehicles with gasoline.
Moore, Tate and Bell all received non-life-threatening injuries.
Watkins said police believe the shooting was directly related to an altercation earlier at the Cotton Club that involved Noble. He would not say who else was involved.
The Cotton Club’s owner, Anthony Barnhill, denied anything had occurred at the club. According to police, officers were sent to the club for a report of unwanted males with firearms, but they determined that there were no problems upon arrival at 3:06 a.m.
Less than 20 minutes later, shots were fired outside the bar, and a black SUV fled the scene. The SUV is now in police custody, but Watkins would not say to whom the vehicle is registered.
Noble was arrested after a 24-hour manhunt by the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force, Lorain detectives, narcotic officers and patrol officers. He was arrested Wednesday afternoon at South Park Apartments in Elyria.
Police said that at 3 p.m. Tuesday, someone fired at least one high-powered round into Noble’s home on West 22nd Street in “apparent retaliation for the shooting the night before.”
No one was home or injured in that incident.
Watkins said Noble’s arrest and the arrest of a suspect wanted for a shooting at Biggy’s Pub and Eatery on Sunday was a result of dedicated police work.
“I definitely want to compliment my guys on this. … They worked an enormous amount of hours,” he said.
Police Chief Cel Rivera said that as a result of department’s hard work, a “very dangerous individual was removed from the streets of Lorain.”
In 2003, Noble was convicted of trafficking in cocaine, drug paraphernalia and possession of criminal tools, and he was sentenced to time in prison, according to court documents.
In 2005, he was convicted of burglary, possession of marijuana and obstructing official business, and he is awaiting trial for possession of cocaine, drug paraphernalia and other charges.
In October, Noble was arrested and charged with domestic violence and unlawful restraint after the mother of Noble’s child said Noble accused her of being with another man and went through her cell phone, asking her who all the men in her contact list were. She said Noble punched her each time she answered him and threatened to “knock her teeth out” if he saw her in Lorain.
With the exception of one man, all of the men involved in Tuesday’s shooting are convicted felons, according to police. Seagers, who was pronounced dead at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland on Tuesday, had numerous criminal convictions.
Family and friends of Seagers said he is a good man, and they are devastated by his death.
Rick Seagers, Seagers’ uncle, said his nephew, whom he said went by Matt, loved sports and was generous.
“He was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back,” the elder Seagers said.
Although he said he hadn’t seen his nephew recently, he said Herman Seagers had several children, whom he loved.
“He was a good father and a good man,” Rick Seagers said.
Narisa McCall, a friend of Seagers, wrote in an email that Seagers was working to provide for his family and was a good father to his children.
“He was the dad that had that awkward conversation about boys with his oldest daughter the night of her first high school dance before he drove her there himself,” she said. “He was a friend that always spoke and was truly everyone’s friend. He was a son that loved his mother.”
Noble, who is facing murder and other charges, is scheduled to be arraigned today.