Better Understanding? Deadly Shooting Re-created

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EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio--What really happened the night of a Cleveland police chase that ended in a deadly shooting more than a year ago?

State investigators returned to the scene Saturday to re-create it.

The actual cars involved in the deadly November 29, 2012 police chase were brought back to the parking lot of Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland Saturday morning.

That's where a chase, lasting more than 20 minutes, ended with 13 Cleveland police officers firing 137 rounds into this car, killing 43-year-old Timothy Russell and his passenger, 30-year-old Malissa Williams.

It began when a police officer thought he was being shot at in front of the Justice Center in downtown Cleveland; no weapon was ever found.

"We continue to investigate different aspects of what happened that night and this is all part of running more tests to help us understand what took place," said Joe Frolik, spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

Frolik would not be specific about what state investigators from BCI and the county medical examiner were doing.

But he did say they are using a 360-degree laser to gather information. The car the victims were in and two police cruisers were placed in their original positions.

A grand jury will decide whether any of the 13 officers should be criminally charged.

"Will this be something that will be presented to a grand jury? Probably. I would think that's a reasonable assumption, but it's part of our understanding of trying to figure out the events, so we can help the grand jurors and the public understand what took place," Frolik said.

"There's no lights and sirens. There's no gunshots. It's not dark, so I have no idea what we're doing here or just making a media production," said Cleveland Police Union President Jeff Follmer.

Follmer said grand jurors should already have all the evidence they need to make a decision.

"We don't need to keep re-inventing this, you know. It's all about the officers' perceptions, what the vehicles were doing inside the parking lot, suspects' vehicles, what they were doing inside the parking lot and what the officers were thinking that night. That's what it comes down to. This re-enactment doesn't help anything," Follmer said.

Community activists showed up, welcoming the re-creation.

"Families and others in the community cannot begin to rest and focus on their lives until this is dealt with, and it should've been dealt with in a very fast, expedient manner, so we're very glad it's happening now," said community activist Alfred Porter, Jr.

On Thursday, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams announced new rules when it comes to police chases.

It gives supervisors more authority on whether to continue or call off a chase. It also states that pursuits should only be for people believed to have committed serious crimes.

CLICK to read dozens of stories on the deadly chase.

2 comments

  • P.O.

    No matter what side of this you are on you have to agree that a reenactment such as this is not a fair recreation of the events as the police saw them. It is daylight now, during the incident it was complete darkness and there were hundreds of flashing strobe lights in people’s eyes which would also obstruct their vision of what they saw or perceived. If it was the other way around and the police tried to reenact a crime scene for a criminal trial the defense attorneys would no doubt bring this important detail up. If your going to reenact the event then do it WHEN the event took place. I bet the investigators can see a whole lot better today in the daylight then the officers could that night!!!

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