Owner of Shot-Up Westlake Building: ‘It Was Almost Surreal’

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WESTLAKE, Ohio -- The search continues for the person or persons responsible for firing multiple shots into a business with employees inside on Saturday afternoon in Westlake.

Investigators are now looking at surveillance video from nearby businesses to try to identify any suspicious vehicles or to see if they can identify who went on a shooting spree, nearly striking an officer.

Bullet holes are visible in the windows at William E. Pappas’ CPA office building on Center Ridge Road.

“It was almost surreal. I felt like I was in a movie scene, and this wasn’t really happening,” said owner Bill Pappas.

Pappas was not inside the building when the shots were fired, but three of his employees were.

“The first came in just before one of our staff members left for the day,” he said.

Witnesses inside the building said roughly eight minutes later a second shot came right through the front window right near where an employee was standing.

“I guess from what the officers described, it grazed the ceiling and then embedded itself up in the crown molding," he said.

That’s when an employee picked up the phone and called 911. Within minutes, an officer arrived on scene to investigate.

According to witnesses, the officer was on the phone calling back to dispatch to confirm that shots were fired at the building. That’s when the fifth and final shot came through the window just a foot above where the officer was standing.

“And the fact that someone would have the nerve to shoot into the building knowing that a police officer is here is incredible,” Pappas said.

According to police, five shots in all were fired, and they believe whoever is responsible fired from a moving vehicle on multiple passes.

"Based on the trajectory of the rounds what we tried to do was use the laser beam and come back from the final rest of the rounds and it appears that it came from the roadway," said Detective Lt. Ray Arcuri.

Police do not have any description of the suspect or suspects involved in the shooting and they have no motive.

“Obviously the building itself was the target,” said Pappas. “It’s my opinion that anyone in this building is being targeted because if it was an individual in the building why fire a shot when a police officer is here.”

Pappas’ CPA firm handles taxes for small businesses and individuals; almost all of his clients are receiving a refund. He said he’s not letting Saturday’s incident ruin his business.

“I’m the type of individual, I’m not going to let this incident, you know, change who I am and change the way we do business here. When you’re numbers up, your numbers up,” he said.

Pappas will be putting security cameras up around the building for extra security. He said he never felt like he needed the cameras in the past. He believe this was an isolated incident.

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