SHEFFIELD LAKE, Ohio (WJW) – Police in Sheffield Lake are asking for the public’s help to identify a gunman who shattered the calm of the lakefront community during a violent robbery.

Investigators say a young couple had just left the pool area at the Portside Apartment complex off of Lake Road around 8:30 p.m. last Friday night when the suspect followed them into their building, pulled out a gun and ordered them to go inside their apartment.

Detectives say the suspect tied up the man, robbed the couple and then forced the woman to leave the apartment at gunpoint.

SLPD Sgt. Brandon Brooks told FOX 8 that the woman’s boyfriend was able to break free of the restraints, grabbed his gun and fired through the door of the apartment, which prompted the suspect to leave the woman behind and flee the scene with at least two accomplices who were waiting in the parking lot.

When asked how he interpreted what happened, Sergeant Brooks said, “the suspect probably thought, ‘oh man, he has a gun so I’ve to get out of here.'”

While concerned that the gunfire could have hit an innocent resident, police say it appears the victim was within his rights to open fire through the door. 

“He felt his life was in danger, he could have been killed at any moment, so he went to retrieve his gun and he wasn’t sure, you know, if the threat was still there and he began to shoot. But probably not the best idea with it being in an apartment complex, you don’t what was on the other side of the door,” said Sgt. Brooks. 

Investigators are now asking residents in the surrounding area around the apartment complex to check video from their surveillance cameras from last Friday, between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m., to see if they may have captured any images of the suspect, his accomplices and their vehicle.

Police will not speculate on why the couple was targeted, but say the incident illustrates why criminals can no longer assume that victims facing the barrel of a gun will simply comply. 

“It is 2023 and everyone for the most part can carry a gun and, you know, it’s just not wise. Whatever it was, it’s not worth his life or the suspect’s life. It’s not worth anyone’s life,” said Sgt. Brooks.

Anyone who can help identify the suspect and pinpoint his whereabouts is asked to call Sheffield Lake police.