EUCLID, Ohio-- The FOX 8 I TEAM is unravelling the mystery surrounding a deadly shooting by a Euclid Police officer now that a grand jury has decided he will not face criminal charges.
Tuesday afternoon, a grand jury returned what’s called a “no bill”, a document that means no charges.
In March, Luke Stewart got shot to death by Euclid police in his car as an officer was also inside the car. Stewart did not have a weapon. And much about the case remained secret until now.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office led the investigation and presented the evidence to the grand jury. The Attorney General has now released investigative findings shedding new light on the case.
The report shows a citizen called police about a car that raised suspicions in that neighborhood. Police went up to the car and saw a marijuana cigarette and a scale for drugs.
Officers told investigators as they started to pull the man out of the car for questioning, he fought with them and put the car in drive. They say he nearly ran over them. Officer Matthew Rhodes said he was hanging out of the car as it started to speed off so he pulled himself entirely inside.
Rhodes said he was in fear of flying through the windshield and losing his life. He said he punched Stewart trying to get him to stop. Shot him with a taser 6 times. Finally, the officer said he shot the driver 3 times with his gun.
Rhodes told investigators, “Nothing else I am doing is working. I was going to shoot him. I shot him twice in the chest. He looked at me. Swung at me again. I fired again.”
Stewart’s family isn’t happy with no charges. And attorney Sarah Gelsomino reacted, “And so it’s very difficult for a family to have any confidence in a system that is secret, that is totally shrouded from view without any transparency whatsoever.”
The investigative report also shows Stewart sped off in that car drunk at 3 times the legal limit and with drugs in his system.
The Euclid Police Chief issued a statement asking for peace and time for the community to heal.
Records show the encounter lasted 59 seconds. But the debate over what happened and how could be endless.