I TEAM: growing investigation into long police response to shots fired

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CLEVELAND – The FOX 8 I TEAM has found Cleveland Police are now doing an internal investigation to find out what took so long for an officer to get to the scene of multiple calls of shots fired with bullets even going into a school building.

It happened last Tuesday afternoon near East 131 and Harvard.

The I TEAM obtained video showing a car following an SUV with a man leaning out the window firing a gun. We’ve now taken a closer look at the video and found a second car with a person who also appears to be pointing a gun or firing.

Meantime, police recordings and dispatch notes showed no officer got to the scene until 35 to 47 minutes had passed. At one point, a dispatcher can be heard telling a supervisor she had no cars to send for the shots fired.

Cleveland Police refused an on-camera interview. Instead, the I TEAM received an e-mail saying the matter is under investigation by the police department’s Inspections Unit. And internal investigators are looking at the same kinds of things we’re reviewing. How many officers in that area were on duty? What other calls had come in at the same time?

The Cleveland Police Union president says an officer on lunch ended up responding to that call. Steve Loomis believes this case shows the city does not have enough officers. He said, “We can’t do anymore with any less. There’s not a cop out there that wouldn’t have wanted to catch these guys shooting up our streets, hitting our schools.’

Councilman Zack Reed represents that area. He has been demanding the city hire more police officers for some time. He said, “The citizens expect better. So we can clearly see, when you make a phone call, the police aren’t coming. Clearly see,the third year in a row for 100 homicides.”

The city has said it will hire more officers with money from a new tax increase, but Reed believes there’s a need even for many more than that.

The gunfire hit the Chapelside Cleveland Academy, a charter school. Students were not there, but teachers were.

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