EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — Cleveland police are continuing to search for a second suspect in connection with a chase and crash that killed a 13-year-old girl in East Cleveland. “My heart, my heart just goes out to them and my gut is just wrenched,” said Denise Saulsberry, who lives in the area.
East Clevelanders are grieving with the family of 13-year-old Tamia Chappman. “It could’ve happened to anybody but it happened to her and our heart goes out to the family,” said Juanita Gowdy, East Cleveland’s Ward 2 Councilwoman-Elect.
Chappman was killed after a police chase came to a tragic end just after school let out.
Cleveland police say the chase started around 3:20 p.m. on Friday when an off-duty officer spotted a woman being carjacked at gunpoint by two people at the target on West 117th street.
We’re told the officer trailed the car as it headed onto I-90 eastbound when a second district supervisor chased the vehicle.
The suspect drove into East Cleveland to the corner of Euclid and Lakefront avenues where police say his car was involved in a crash, which killed Chappman.
“To drive that fast coming down the street and, you know, it’s in an intersection with a lot of people and there’s a lot of people, it’s a busy day, holiday, I mean, where is the heart and compassion at?” asked Gowdy.
Gowdy questioned the police’s decision to pursue the suspect. “Stop the chase; that’s all you have to say. Stop the chase.”
“It’s enough going around that everybody should reflect on how to do it better,” said Pete Alex, who lives in the area.
Police arrested a 15-year-old boy and confiscated a gun at the scene. A second male suspect fled on foot.
Chappman was a 6th grader at Superior Elementary School where the district said in a statement grief counselors would be available on Monday despite the winter break. “It’s not a good time ever for something like this to happen but the holiday times make it even worse,” said Saulsberry.
East Clevelanders say this tragedy hits close to home. “Hold your family close and your kids close and keep your eyes on them.”