CLEVELAND — Many state and local officials as well as community leaders have spoken about the Nov. 29 Cleveland police chase and police-involved shooting.
But for the very first time since that night, we are hearing from the officers who were involved in the shooting.
The state attorney general’s office on Wednesday released the videotaped statements of the officers.
“I never have been so afraid in my life,” said a very emotional Officer Michael Brelo, who served in the Marines and was stationed in Iraq. “I couldn’t understand why the suspects were moving and still shooting at us.”
At one point in the interview, Brelo became emotional and needed a break.
“I thought my partner and I would be shot and killed, at which point I drew my weapon and shot through the windshield at the suspects,” Brelo told BCI Agent John Saraya.
Brelo was one of 13 officers who fired shots that night. The suspects, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, were killed, following a 22-minute chase.
“I got out of the vehicle because I am terrified of getting rammed by the suspects’ vehicle, I try to get out of the way of the car so it doesn’t run me over and kill me,” Brelo said.
Attorney General Mike DeWine said earlier this month that Brelo climbed on the top of a cruiser and fired downward into the suspects’ vehicle and then stepped across and fired from the hood of the suspects’ vehicle.
However, Brelo says he doesn’t remember being on the suspects’ car.
“I must have had tunnel vision,” Brelo said. “The next thing I know I was next to the suspects’ vehicle.”
The state’s investigation, which includes the officers’ interviews, has been turned over to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
The prosecutor is expected to take the case to the grand jury.
Meanwhile, the city police department is conducting an internal review of the matter.