Akron, Ohio – A black man shot dead by Akron police officers in a hail of bullets following a vehicle and foot chase was unarmed at the time of the shooting, but a shot appeared to come from the vehicle during the chase, and officers said they feared he was preparing to shoot when they discharged their guns, authorities said.
Police released a video on Sunday that the mayor called ‘heartbreaking’ of the chase and shooting of 25-year-old Jayland Walker, while pleading for peace and patience in the community as the investigation into the State on the shooting continues.
Chief Steve Mylett said officers attempted to stop Walker’s car for unspecified traffic and equipment violations, but less than a minute into a chase, the sound of a gunshot was heard from the car and a Transportation Department camera captured what appeared to be a muzzle flash coming from the vehicle. Mylett said it changed the nature of the case “from a routine traffic stop to now a public safety issue.”
Police say minutes later the car slowed down and Walker got out of the still-moving vehicle wearing a ski mask and fled on foot. A handgun, loaded magazine and wedding band were found on the seat and a case compatible with the weapon was later found where officers believed a gunshot had come from the vehicle.
After a failed attempt to use stun devices, the pursuit on foot continued to a parking lot, at which point a crescendo of bullets can be heard. Mylett said he watched the video dozens of times and Walker’s actions at the time were hard to tell, but a still photo appears to show him ‘dropping to the waist’ and another appears to show him turning to an officer and a third. image ‘captures a forward movement of his arm.’
After the shooting, the officers who fired were separated from each other and watched, and arriving investigators walked them individually through the scene, Myett said.
“Each officer, independently of each other, reported feeling that Mr. Walker had turned and was gesturing and moving into a firing position,” he said.
Mylett said an officer shooting someone must be “prepared to explain why they did what they did, they must be able to articulate the specific threats they faced…and they must be held to account.” responsible”. But he said he was withholding judgment on their actions until they made their statements, and he said the union president had told him everyone was “cooperating fully” with the investigation.
Police said more than 60 wounds were found on the body, but further investigation will be needed to determine exactly how many rounds the eight officers fired and how many times Walker was hit. Officers provided assistance, and it can be heard that he still had a pulse, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, Mylett said.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost promised a ‘full, fair and expert investigation’ and warned that ‘body-worn camera footage is only an overview – before shooting conclusions, the full examination must take place”.
The officers involved in the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard practice in such cases.
One of the family’s attorneys, Bobby DiCello, said police gunfire took place even after Walker was on the ground and police handcuffed him before trying to lavish him first aid.
“How it came to this with a chase is beyond me,” DiCello said, adding that Walker’s family doesn’t know why he fled from police. Walker was mourning the recent death of his fiancee, but his family had no indication of concern beyond that, DiCello said.
“He was sad, but he was getting by,” DiCello said. He said he didn’t know if the ring found near the gun belonged to Walker.
Walker’s family calls for responsibility, but also for peace.
“Anger is okay. Anger is understandable. Violence is not. Let’s uphold the dignity of Jayland’s life as we peacefully demand justice for him,” Walker’s family said in a statement to CBS. News.
The NAACP of Akron planned to hold a “community rally for peace” at Akron City Hall on Sunday in memory of Walker.