(WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained video showing how Cleveland Police tried to stop a man with a hatchet on city streets before officers shot him and left him critically hurt.
The I-Team now has pictures of the damage that police say the man with the hatchet did to an ambulance.
It happened just after midnight Friday morning on the west side, and with the help of the video and pictures, we’ve uncovered the story behind it.
A recording shows a dispatcher telling police over the radio, “He’s got a backpack walking around with a hatchet.”
Police say, first, the man damaged a Cleveland EMS unit with that hatchet even as the crew was inside.
We saw damage to the side of the ambulance, and we’ve learned some rear lights had to be replaced.
That dispatcher also said, “Just be advised this male keeps coming up to the EMS wagon. EMS has not been injured at all, but they’re in their wagon.”
On the recording, you also hear police say, “Just keep walking with him, then,” “He still has his hatchet” and “Step away. Don’t get too close with that hatchet.”
Neighborhood security video shows the man walking down the street as officers walk several feet away from him. Police cars and an ambulance also follow.
Cell phone video from a witness shows more.
In one clip, an officer walks and keeps pace with the suspect.
In another, multiple police cars with flashing lights block the street nearby.
Police say an officer shot the suspect with a bean bag and two officers fired tasers, but Cleveland Police Union President Jeff Follmer tells us the man with the hatchet would not stop.
“These officers took it to an extreme not using lethal force right away. This was a gentleman that was going to jail,” Follmer said.
The incident started at West 117th and Lorain. Then, it went on for block after block after block. So, we measured the distance.
It finally ended off West 106 and Lorain. The total distance for that encounter from start to finish added up to almost three-quarters of a mile.
Police finally fired gun shots, leaving the man with multiple gunshot wounds. As of late Friday, MetroHealth Medical Center said he was still in critical condition.
The Union President says officers fired when the man with the hatchet came at them with that weapon.
“He got more aggressive with the hatchet. They tried everything they could without using lethal force. It just wasn’t working,” Follmer added.
On that dispatch recording, you hear officers call out, “Shots fired. Shots fired,” and “Step up EMS.”
Now, investigators are trying to figure out what led a man to roam the streets with a hatchet attacking officers and even an ambulance.
The suspect is a 30-year-old man. We checked his name in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County Court records and saw only a couple of traffic tickets.