From [HERE] One of the Cleveland police officers involved in the fatal shooting of two suspects Thursday night fired 30 to 40 rounds, a lawyer representing the officers said Tuesday.
That would mean the officer had to reload his handgun at least once.
Attorney Pat D'Angelo said another officer fired 17 rounds and a third fired 12 times at the end of a high-speed car chase. Some of the officers, he claimed, had been warned that the suspects were armed and were under the perception that shots had been fired at officers.
"He was fighting for his life and fighting to protect other officers," D'Angelo said of the officer who fired at least 30 rounds into the car the suspects had driven on a 25-minute chase. The Black people killed were unarmed and therefore did not shoot at anyone.
All told, 47 of the 137 rounds fired by 13 Cleveland officers hit their targets -- 43-year-old Timothy Russell and 30-year-old Malissa Williams, according to the Cuyahoga County medical examiner. Dr. Thomas P. Gilson reported Tuesday that 24 of the rounds riddled the head, neck, body and an arm of Williams, who was a passenger in the Chevrolet Malibu SS, and 23 rounds struck the head, neck and extremities of driver Timothy Russell. 12 of the 13 officers involved were white.
Gilson ruled the deaths as homicides. The ruling means Williams and Russell, both of Cleveland, did not die as a result of an accident, but does not necessarily mean the shootings constituted a crime.
The rulings came hours before members of the Cleveland chapter of the NAACP discussed their desire for a federal investigation of the chase from Cleveland into neighboring East Cleveland and the use of deadly force by 13 Cleveland officers.
Both suspects were black. Cleveland police Chief Michael McGrath said Monday that 12 of the officers who fired on Williams and Russell inside a 1979 Chevrolet Malibu SS are white and one is Hispanic.
The state Bureau of Criminal Investigation is now leading the probe with assistance from East Cleveland police.
Russell and Willims were killed after they led the police on a chase that began about 10:30 p.m. on Thursday outside the Justice Center. A police official said two Cleveland officers heard a gunshot and believed it came from a 1979 Chevrolet Malibu that Russell owned. David Russell Jr. said he gave the car involved in the chase to his brother, and that it had a bad muffler - which could account for the sound. Then the car sped away and the officers chased them.
Officers from Bratenahl, East Cleveland, the State Highway Patrol and the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office joined in the pursuit. It ended on a dead-end access street in East Cleveland, near Heritage Middle School, where police claim Russell “violently rammed a police car and almost struck an officer,” Follmer said.
The chase continued for 25 minutes, reaching speeds of 120 miles-per-hour, before ending in the parking lot of Heritage Middle School. Russell ended up on a dead-end access road to an East Cleveland middle school. There approximately 25 polcie officers converged on the Black man's car. They surrounded the Malibu, and some officers were out of their cars when Russell rammed another police car, Gardner said. Officers then unloaded on the car firing at least 137 shots in about 20 seconds.
Russell's body has been released to his family. His funeral will be Saturday in Twinsburg, relatives said.
The police shooting came up in discussions at the regular meeting of the Cleveland branch of the NAACP's regular monthly meeting Tuesday evening.
Members voted to send a letter to the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the shooting. Outgoing NAACP President James Hardiman said the office would draft a letter this week.
Several members expressed their concerns about the shooting and said they believe police used excessive force. The group also agreed to form a legal redress committee to explore what actions the organization could take.
"Many of our members are concerned about this matter," Hardiman said. "We want to find out the facts."
About 35 people attended an East Cleveland City Council meeting Tuesday evening, some expressing unease about how the Cleveland Police Department handled the chase.
"I'm concerned about the procedures," said Ike Jenkins, president of the East Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. " ... That people can come into our city firing shots. Cleveland has no respect for our city."
Another East Cleveland resident said, "It was like a Christmas tree. I haven't seen that many cops on TV. This is ridiculous. I'm tired of East Cleveland being experimented on, being disrespected."
No East Cleveland officers or vehicles were involved in the chase, and no East Cleveland officers were involved in the shooting, Mayor Gary Norton told council.
He said two East Cleveland detectives will be out of the city for nearly two months working with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification on the investigation.