I-Team: Ranger shot by drug suspect had been written up in the past

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CLEVELAND-- The FOX 8 I TEAM has found that a Cleveland Metroparks ranger, who shot and wounded a prisoner she was transporting, had been disciplined before for what happened when she transported a drug suspect.

The I TEAM reviewed the personnel file for Chelsea McLellan.

Last week, investigators say she arrested a drug suspect, and that suspect shot and wounded her from the back of her patrol car as she was taking him to jail. Police say ranger Mcllelan got shot in her bulletproof vest. Then, investigators say another ranger following behind shot and killed the suspect, Derek Stokes. Police believe Stokes had hidden a gun on his body even though he’d been handcuffed and searched.

In fact, a source close to the case says two rangers had searched Stokes for weapons.

The I TEAM reviewed McLellan’s personnel file. That shows in May, she got a verbal warning for how she took a drug suspect to jail. Records show she worked a 16-hour day, “failed to check the rear seat…contraband was later located hidden in the rear seat area.”

In the shooting case, the I TEAM has learned police believe McLellan and ranger Kyle Shultz both returned fire. All told dozens of shots were fired-- more than 40.

That life-and-death struggle comes just months after McLellan got suspended for how she provided back-up to a ranger at Euclid Beach. Records say she “failed to provide assistance” and “used inappropriate words” to describe the officers and what they were doing.

But the focus now: What happened during the shooting and how. Cleveland police are doing that investigation.

The I TEAM reached a union leader for the rangers. He said he can’t comment since the latest case is under investigation, and the older cases haven’t been completely settled. But he added, ‘Thank God the rangers are alive.’

Continuing coverage.