SOLON, Ohio (WJW) — It was a 16-year-old Cleveland boy carrying a loaded handgun while fleeing on foot from a stolen minivan who prompted a police shooting near a local elementary school on Thursday morning, authorities said.
Solon police have released more details about the police-involved shooting near Roxbury Elementary School, which prompted a brief school lockdown, and are seeking to clarify unofficial reports claiming the suspect was not armed.
“Solon Police Department acknowledges the seriousness of this incident. The incident taking place in the vicinity of an elementary school is alarming,” reads a Friday afternoon news release from the police department.
“We are extremely thankful that this arrest ended without loss of life or serious injury. We will continue to investigate and provide details in the hope that transparency will bring some closure to parents and residents in the area.”
Just after 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, an automated license plate reader spotted a Honda Odyssey minivan that had been reported stolen along Aurora Road. Solon officer Bryan Butto located the vehicle and learned it was stolen in an aggravated robbery on Tuesday, April 4. He used lights and sirens in an attempt to pull the vehicle over along SOM Center Road, but it did not stop.
A chase ensued, lasting less than two minutes, first heading south along SOM Center Road, then heading west along Arthur Road, then heading north along Solon Boulevard. The minivan rear-ended another vehicle along Solon Boulevard near Roxbury Elementary School.
The driver and passenger in that other car suffered minor injuries, police said.
That’s when police say the driver got out and fled on foot, carrying a gun in his hand. A still image taken from a police dashboard camera provided by Solon police shows the firearm, as well as school buses nearby:
Butto fired at the suspect but did not strike him. The suspect fled through backyards, dropping the gun in the grass. After a foot chase lasting less than a minute, the suspect surrendered.
The 16-year-old boy from Cleveland was arrested and taken to the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center on Thursday afternoon, according to the release. His charges are still being decided.
After the crash, the school was locked down for about six minutes. The school day continued after the incident, and students were dismissed under an alternative plan. Solon Boulevard remained closed for a time.
Butto was placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure for officer-involved shootings. Butto was hired by Solon Police Department in May 2021 and has been an Ohio police officer since 2009, according to the release.
Police later recovered the firearm: A loaded, semi-automatic .40-caliber Glock model 23. It was equipped with an extended magazine and loaded with 22 bullets, one of which was chambered. It’s unclear if the suspect fired the weapon, according to the release. Police did not find report any property damage or injuries near the scene.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is processing the scene of the shooting and preserving evidence. The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office is also assisting in the investigation. Cleveland Police Department is also investigating the initial carjacking in which the minivan was stolen at gunpoint.
Solon Police Department is also planning its own internal investigation relating to policy and procedures “as more facts are established.”