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RICHFIELD, Ohio (WJW) — Authorities have identified the man who allegedly brandished a gun at a person then fled police, leading to an hours-long manhunt along Interstate 271 on Thursday, May 11.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol identified the man as Ali Abdul Esaleh, 47, of Buffalo. Esaleh is charged with felony counts of having weapons while under disability, failure to comply with police and felonious assault, according to a Friday news release.
Esaleh is accused of pulling a gun on an auto repair worker in Granger Township, according to the patrol.
Troopers found him Thursday afternoon in a semi truck pulled over along I-271 in Richfield. He then disconnected the trailer and fled. The semi hit a police cruiser then went off the road, striking a guardrail near state Route 303. He then fled on foot into a nearby wooded area.
Richfield Police Chief Michael Swanson in a separate statement Friday said the pursuit began in Medina County. Village officers were laying spike strips on the highway to stop Esaleh’s truck when they were almost struck.
“We are relieved and thankful that our two Richfield Police officers were not injured,” he said.
The police department is preparing to release body-worn and dashboard camera footage from the incident next week, Swanson said.
Heavily armed officers spread out to search for Esaleh — believing him to be armed and dangerous — in that wooded area along the highway. The search continued for two-and-a-half hours, until he was found unconscious at the bottom of a ravine with the firearm.
Esaleh remains in an area hospital, according to the release. He was reportedly in critical condition on Thursday.