CLEVELAND -- The 13 police officers involved in last week’s chase and police-involved shootings, which left two suspects dead, are telling union officials the incident is one of the toughest situations that has ever happened to them.
“We have veterans saying that this is probably the most traumatic event they have ever done in their career,” said Cleveland Police Union President Jeff Follmer. “Probably the worst case scenario they have ever gone through.”
The officers that took part in the shooting have been meeting with state investigators to tell their side of last Thursday’s events. The chase was prompted by an officer’s belief that one person in the suspect’s car fired a shot at them near the Justice Center in downtown Cleveland. No gun or shell casings were found in the suspect’s car. Relatives and friends of the suspects have said they believe the car may have backfired.
“Those two officers are 110 percent sure, even people in the Justice Center, and there was a guard down there that ducked down and she told the officers they are firing at us,” Follmer said. “They are 110 percent sure that was a gunshot.”
The chase lasted 25 minutes and ended in East Cleveland, where 13 officers fired 137 rounds into the suspects’ vehicle. Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, both died.
The officers are now on restricted duty.
“The get detailed to the gym for 45 days, usually for stress to work out, work off some of the stress,” Follmer said.
Officials say state agents may also interview some of the other officers that were not involved in the shootings but took part in the chase.