Editor’s Note: Some viewers may find the video disturbing.
CLEVELAND (WJW) – Cleveland police released a body camera video Thursday showing the moment an officer was shot and wounded by a suspected car thief.
It happened on March 14. Police say Officer Mark Barijczuk, who was on duty, was shot at the 2800 block of Central Avenue while pursuing what was suspected to be a stolen Kia.
The officer got shot immediately after telling the suspect to get on the ground.
As of Thursday morning, police had not made an arrest. Officer Mark Bahrijczuk is expected to be released from the hospital while still recovering from two gunshots.
The FOX 8 I-Team took a closer look into what happened and what might solve the case.
The shooting happened near the city’s east side as Cleveland police carried out a special operation into stolen cars.
Police say officers spotted a KIA with no license plate and four suspects got out and ran.
Police radio traffic shows an officer call out, “Foot pursuit… orange hoodie… northbound on E. 30th,” and, “Shots fired.”
Another officer then says, “Bahrijczuk. Let me get EMS over here.”
Police say one suspect dropped a gun. Another shot the officer in the forearm and thigh.
On the radio traffic, you also hear, “We got an officer down. Officer shot.”
We’ve learned investigators found a suspect, then released him. But, investigators have been following up and processing evidence. That includes a gun found, shell casings found and DNA collected.
The I-Team also obtained video from just after the shooting, showing a patrol car rushing to the scene and getting hit by another car. There were no other serious injuries.
Meanwhile, police say the area where the shooting happened has become a hotspot for car thieves.
Police say the thieves steal cars, especially KIAs and Hyundais, all around the city. Then, they use those cars in other crimes, sometimes dumping the stolen cars behind vacant buildings and even leaving a bunch of stolen vehicles in one spot.
Police Union President Jeff Follmer spoke out about the officer who had been shot and wounded.
“His record speaks for itself. They say he’s always smiling,” Follmer said.
Records show Officer Mark Barijczuk has been awarded for his work, and he’s received recognition from his commander. He was moved to detective after just joining the police force in 2018.
“He’s done a lot of work and he’s only been on for a few years. His hard work shouldn’t be paid off by being shot at or shot. You know, we talk about accountability and stuff like that. When is it time to take back the streets and make it safe for the citizens?” Follmer said.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for a tip leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman.