Family, friends mourn man killed in east side saloon shooting

The Sawmill Saloon on the east side, where five people were shot, two fatally, on Jan. 28, 2018. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Family and friends are mourning the loss of 50-year-old James Ratcliffe, one of two people killed outside the Sawmill Saloon on the east side over the weekend.

Nicole Davis said Ratcliffe was like a brother to her: a friend she met at the age of 10 who was helping her open a beauty supply store in the Washington Square Mall.

“He was such a good person. Joyful at heart,” Davis said.

Davis said Ratcliffe used to work security at the saloon, but he wasn’t working early Sunday morning when he was shot and killed. He was just hanging out.

IMPD said a disturbance at the bar led to gunfire, and Ratcliffe was one of five people shot. Police are still investigating the motive behind those

Officers said all suspects are accounted for and the public has no need to be alarmed.

Alfonzo Fowler is another childhood friend of Ratcliffe’s. He said he visited the bar once, last fall, and a fight broke out.

“The bar should be shut down,” Fowler said. “It’s a danger zone for anybody that goes in there. How can you have fun? You have to carry a gun just to have fun or you can’t return home to your safety.”

An IMPD spokesperson said, prior to Sunday morning, he wasn’t aware of any large police response to the bar.

Tamika Anderson said she’s been to the bar a few times.

“It’s a nice bar,” Anderson said. “People have words. Everybody has words when they have a few drinks, but I’ve never seen anything that escalated this far.”

24-Hour News 8 made a phone call to the bar, and no one answered. The bar was closed Monday and no one answered the door.