AKRON, Ohio – A black man was shot dead in one shot by Akron police officers
of bullets following a vehicle and the foot chase was unarmed at the time of the shooting, but a shot appeared to have come from the vehicle during the chase and officers said they feared he was preparing to fire , as they fired their guns, authorities said.
Police released video on Sunday that the mayor described as “heartbreaking” of the pursuit and shooting death of 25-year-old Jayland Walker, while asking the community for peace and patience while the state investigation into the shooting continues.
Chief Steve Mylett said officers tried to stop Walker’s car for unspecified traffic and equipment violations early Monday, but less than a minute after a chase, the sound of a gunshot was heard from the car, and a camera the transportation department captured what appeared to be a muzzle flash coming from the vehicle.
Mylett said the nature of the case had changed from “a routine traffic stop to a public safety issue.”
Police said the car slowed a few minutes later and Walker, wearing a ski mask, got out of the still-moving vehicle and fled on foot.
A handgun, a loaded magazine, and a wedding ring were found on the seat, and a casing matching the gun was later found at the spot where officers suspected a shot from the vehicle.
After an unsuccessful attempt to use tranquilizers, the foot chase continued to a parking lot where a crescendo of bullets is heard.
Mylett said he’s watched the video dozens of times and that Walker’s actions at the time are difficult to distinguish, but one still appears to show him “going down to his waist” and another appears to show him approaching one officer and a third image “captures a forward movement of his arm.”
After the shooting, the firing officers were separated and observed, and arriving investigators guided them through the scene one at a time, Myett said.
“Each officer, independently, reported feeling that Mr. Walker had turned and was waving and moving into a firing position,” he said.
Mylett said an officer shooting at someone “has to be willing to explain why they did what they did, they have to be able to articulate what specific threats they were facing… and they have to be able to.” be held accountable.”
But he said he was withholding judgment on their actions until they made their statements, and said the union boss told him everyone was “fully cooperating” with the investigation.
Police said more than 60 wounds were found on the body, but further investigation is needed to determine exactly how many rounds the eight officers fired and how many times Walker was hit.
Officers rendered assistance, and you can hear he still had a pulse, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, Mylett said.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost vowed a “full, fair and competent investigation” and warned that “body-worn camera footage is only one view of the bigger picture — the full review must take place before any conclusions are drawn.”
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The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is normal in such cases.
Walker’s family is demanding accountability but also peace, their attorneys said after the city released video of the shooting.
One of the attorneys, Bobby DiCello, said that police shots rang out even after Walker was down and that police handcuffed him before attempting to administer first aid.
“How this came about with a chase is beyond me,” DiCello said, adding that Walker’s family doesn’t know why he fled from police. Walker is grieving the recent death of his fiancée, but his family has not shown any concern beyond that, DiCello said.
“He was sad, but he got through it,” DiCello said. He said he didn’t know if the ring found near the gun belonged to Walker.