Police are investigating a bizarre case of police panic where 115 police officers may have been involved in a car chase and mass shooting incident where two unarmed individuals were killed in a hail of 140 bullets in Cleveland. Police reports contained erroneous or false information on the scene that led to the deaths.
The car chase in November involved two individuals in a 1979 Chevrolet Malibu. Officers David Siefer and James Hummel were following the Malibu when they reported over the radio that they thought they saw the passenger turn in her seat, get onto her knees and extend both arms toward the rear window as if she was holding a gun. Siefer yelled “He’s pointing the gun. He’s pointing the gun out the back window. Heads up. Heads up. Passenger is pointing a gun out the back window. Everybody be careful.” Siefer later admitted that he never saw a gun.
After the chase, the car eventually pulled into a middle school parking lot. The first shots were reportedly fired by Officer Wilfredo Diaz. He was also the first to the car and found Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, 43, dead . . . and unarmed. They were found to have drugs in their systems.
The city believes that 115 officers were involved in the either the chase or the shooting or both — that is one-third of the officers on duty that night. Some 13 officers fired their weapons despite that fact that no one had shot at the officers. Officer Michael Brelo reported that he saw “the suspects moving and I could not understand why they are still moving, shooting at us. Even through Iraq, I never fired my weapon. I never have been so afraid in my life.”
Some officers assumed that the firing had started from the car while others thought they saw an officer hit or a report of shots fired.
Police frantically searched for a gun, including bringing in a dive team and search crews along the roads. While there are gunpowder residue in the car and on the two suspects, the large amount of rounds fired into the car could easily explain that positive reading.
A police mechanic also found that the car was in a condition that could easily have produced a backfire sound from the engine.
Kudos: Michael Blott