Suspect who shot Metroparks ranger during escape attempt dies

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CLEVELAND-- The suspect who shot a Metropark ranger Tuesday night has died, Cleveland Metroparks Rangers say.

Derek Stokes. Courtesy Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department.
Derek Stokes. Courtesy Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department.

He has been identified as Derek Stokes, 33.

It all started during a traffic stop at the East 55th Street Marina. The Cleveland Metroparks said rangers found drugs in the suspect's car and were taking him to the Justice Center for processing on felony charges.

The suspect was in the back seat of a Metroparks car driven by one ranger while another ranger followed in a separate car. Chief Ranger Dan Veloski said the suspect was patted down and handcuffed behind his back.

"During the course of travel into the police garage, the suspect produced a weapon and fired shots at the officers.  The officers returned fire," Cleveland police said in a news release early Wednesday morning.

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According to Metroparks rangers, the shooting occurred while the suspect was trying to escape.

A female ranger was shot once in her bulletproof vest  and a male ranger was hurt by shattered glass. The suspect also suffered one gunshot wound, Cleveland police said.

All three were taken to MetroHealth Medical Center for treatment. The rangers, ages 27 and 24, were released. They are on administrative leave, pending the investigation.

Veloski said Stokes, who had a lengthy criminal history, died at the hospital.

The FOX 8 I TEAM has learned Stokes was wanted on a burglary warrant just filed last week. And records show the suspect also has felony convictions for drugs and resisting arrest.

In the recent warrant, police say Stokes carried out a violent home break-in. And in a 1999 case, police say Stokes tried to take an officer's gun during a drug arrest.

Keep checking with FOX 8 News and for more on this story.

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