CLEVELAND– The FOX 8 I-Team has learned a grand jury has cleared Cleveland police officers in the deadly shooting of an armed man.
It happened on Ottawa Road in March, after police say a man, who had a gun, shot and wounded a police officer.
Other officers then killed the suspect, Theodore Johnson. But we’re told, the other officers first tried to talk to the suspect before he raised his weapon, and they opened fire.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty released a statement Tuesday saying the officers were justified in using deadly force. McGinty wrote:
“The evidence shows the Officers showed remarkable restraint and went above and beyond the call of duty to seek a peaceful conclusion. These Officers are commended for responding with courage and for heroically fulfilling their duty to protect the public.”
Authorities say on March 11, six Cleveland police officers responded to a report from Johnson’s wife that the 64-year-old man was armed and had threatened to kill her and the landlady.
**The FOX 8 I-Team obtained body camera video, which you can see above and below; warning: portions of the video may be considered disturbing**
The prosecutor’s office found that when Officers David Muniz and John Lyons- who called out to announce themselves as police- went up the back stairs of the duplex, Johnson confronted them, jumped out of his apartment and fired two shots. One of the bullets hit Officer Muniz in his bulletproof vest. According to the release, during a standoff, officers asked Johnson to put down his weapon; he refused and told officers, “I’m shooting. I’m dying.”
After more pleas to surrender, McGinty says Johnson raised his gun toward police, and that’s when “Officers Lyons, Michael Surtz, John Jarrell and Timothy Hannon opened fire, fatally wounding the suspect.” McGinty goes on to say:
“As the officers had their body cameras on and operating, the evidence is indisputable. The evidence demonstrates that Mr. Johnson attempted to murder a police officer by shooting him in the chest and then was determined to be killed by the police. Despite police begging him to drop his gun, Mr. Johnson purposely raised it again after being warned of the consequences. The officers were left without a reasonable alternative.”
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