Police officer in Cleveland fatally shoots man during warrant check

CLEVELAND (AP) – A man who authorities said backed his car into a police motorcycle and slightly injured an officer during a warrant check was fatally shot by police on Wednesday outside of Cleveland.

The shooting occurred in the parking lot of a Lowe’s store in Willoughby, about 20 miles east of downtown Cleveland. Police would not provide the man’s identity.

Willoughby police have asked the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to investigate.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Willoughby Police Chief Jack Beckwith said the encounter began with a call to police from someone “familiar” with the man who said he had outstanding arrest warrants. A police officer arrived in a cruiser, approached the car and asked the man for identification. Beckwith said the officer wasn’t able to verify the man’s identity.

A second officer arrived and placed his motorcycle behind the man’s car, Beckwith said. When the man was told to get out of his car, he drove in reverse and “pushed our motorcycle out in the parking and lot and struck our officer in the process,” Beckwith said.

The chief said one of the officers opened fire “to protect the safety of everyone in the area.”

The man sped away and crashed in a parking lot across a busy street, Beckwith said.

While Beckwith told reporters that police are trying to confirm the man’s identity, he also said some of the felony warrants were issued by Willoughby, but wouldn’t say what the warrants were for.

Willoughby police do not use body cameras that might have recorded the shooting. A dashboard camera in the cruiser wasn’t turned on and wasn’t in position to record the events, Beckwith said.

WJW-TV has obtained a brief and blurry cellphone video that recorded what appeared to be two gunshots and the car speeding away. Beckwith said he had seen the video.

“It doesn’t raise any questions with us as far as what happened,” Beckwith said.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which oversees the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation, said she could not comment about the shooting and investigation.

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