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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Westside Altercation Ends with Shots Fired, One Man Injured By a Fence, and Ample Confusion

Posted By on Sun, Jun 14, 2015 at 3:47 PM

click to enlarge Residents on Detroit Avenue shout at police stationed across the street. - ERIC SANDY / SCENE
  • Residents on Detroit Avenue shout at police stationed across the street.
A morning foot chase on the city's westside ended with an officer firing his gun. He didn't hit anyone, though one man who had allegedly pointed his own gun at the officer was injured while jumping a fence. The story quickly grew more complicated as the neighborhood came to life on a humid Sunday morning.

Residents gathered around West 83rd and Detroit earlier today after gunfire and rumors brought a three-block stretch of roadway to a boiling point. Confusion abounded, and neighbors swapped stories about what brought them out there. From around 10:40 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. or so, police did not provide information as to what was going on.

"I heard about nine shots," one man told Scene around 1 p.m. "Two guys were hit." He didn't know much more. Others shared stories that included a man's stomach being sliced open, a dead body baking in the afternoon heat behind a commercial building, and a suspect being cornered by police until SWAT officers showed up — which they later did, though there was no such confrontation. In short, nothing added up.

At one point, a representative from the Division of Police told a crowd of people that "there was no shooting." Minutes later, another CPD rep told another nearby crowd that a "shooting investigation" was under way.

Later, Police Chief Calvin Williams said that officers had responded to reports of six men waving guns around in the area. A pursuit began on foot, culminating with at least one man pointing his gun at an officer. The officer fired four times and did not hit the man. Shots were also fired by an unconfirmed number of men in the group. The man who first pointed his gun at the officer was eventually injured as he tried to hop a fence. He was taken to the hospital in handcuffs.

If anything, though, the confusion of the morning returns the spotlight to ongoing frustrations between Cleveland's black residents (according to witnesses, the men involved in the foot chase were black) and the police. The recent Michael Brelo verdict came up constantly, with one man challenging a Cleveland police officer repeatedly over whether the not-guilty verdict was the right answer to the community's questions about the Nov. 29, 2012 police chase and shooting. The community, of course, awaits the imminent Grand Jury hearings in the Tamir Rice shooting case. 

(Just based on the tenor of this morning and afternoon, it's worth noting that this story may evolve a bit as police present more context amid their investigation.)

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