UPDATE: New details emerge in Warren police shooting
By VIRGINIA SHANK
WARREN — The 24-year-old man who died in a confrontation with a city patrolman early Saturday morning apparently pointed a gun at the officer before he was fatally shot.
Based on police conversations recorded by a dashboard camera, Taemarr Walker was wearing rubber gloves when he was shot and police believe he may have been en route to “shoot up” a local bar when he came upon Patrolman Michael Krafcik at the scene of an unrelated car crash in a remote area at the intersection of Risher and Palmyra roads S.W.
The recording was released by the Warren Police Department on Wednesday following a Tribune Chronicle public records request. It reveals that a tow truck driver was at the scene at the time of the shooting and that there was a female, believed to be Walker’s girfriend, in the vehicle with Walker.
The female, who has not been identified, can be heard crying “Please don’t kill me. Oh, God, please don’t kill me” as she is led in handcuffs from Walker’s vehicle to Krafcik’s cruiser.
Although Krafcik’s cruiser did not have video capabilities, the second police vehicle to arrive at the scene did. That dash cam recorded the aftermath of the shooting. It appears the second officer to arrive at the scene was Sgt. Bryan Holmes.
An officer can be heard saying “He’s wearing rubber gloves. … I see it’s straight in his hands. We need to establish his vital signs so I’m gonna have to recover the weapon out of here. Note I just pulled a Ruger out of the subject’s hands … OK. This is still loaded ….leave that gun loaded like it is … see if you’ve got a pulse … no pulse? All right. I gotta start making some calls.”
The recording reveals that EMS workers on the scene established Walker had no pulse.
At one point Holmes can be heard during a telephone call to Warren Police Lt. Jeff Cole stating “We had an officer involved shooting tonight … Taemarr’s been killed …Mike was out here on Risher Road investigating a traffic accident … and I haven’t got too much detail from him … he came across Taemarr … he comes across radio subject in a car with a gun in the car … he ended up pulling a gun on Mike … and uh Mike fired some shots … I went up … didn’t see any breathing … looked in. I saw a weapon in his hand. He was hunched over in the car. I removed the weapon, set it uh on the seat. EMS came up and established no pulse ….”
Krafcik can be heard explaining to another officer that the tow truck driver was at the scene pulling the initial vehicle out of a ditch and that the road was blocked.
“He was coming this way … it didn’t look like he was going to stop,” Krafcik said.
He explained he tried to signal for the driver of the second vehicle, but that car was traveling at a high rate of speed and also went into a ditch.
“I saw the rifle. He was in the back seat all this time, he was in the back seat … then he dove over the front seat and started pulling the hand gun out from underneath the front seat,” Krafcik said.
Krafcik told other officers Walker had a gun in his hand and that there was a rifle in the back seat. Krafcik said he fired through the window and that the female was in the front seat of the car when the shooting happened.
An officer can be heard earlier on the recording stating they needed to secure the female. An officer, along with an unidentified male, can been seen escorting the female, in handcuffs, to Krafcik’s cruiser, telling her to get into the car.
EMS workers at the scene indicated the female suffered minor superficial scratches that did not require immediate medical attention
Later, the female traveling with Walker said to police “Let me go … is he OK? … is he OK ?… please ….”
On Monday, the Trumbull County Coroner’s Office said Walker died from multiple gunshot wounds. However, the coroner’s office would not say specifically how many times Walker was shot.
An officer can be heard on the recording during a telephone conversation that what drew Krafcik’s attention when he approached Walker’s vehicle was that he had seen the rifle in the back seat.
Officials said Krafcik, who can been seen on the recording walking about the scene, may have suffered a minor injury to his hand during the incident.
An incident report that Warren police released Tuesday lists “police officer” as the injured victim. However, the report indicates the injury is “unknown.”
Police sources said Krafcik was not injured by gunfire and is doing OK. He was placed on paid administrative leave immediately after the shooting, a standard procedure when police are involved in such incidents.
Krafcik is heard on a recording yelling at the man to put his hands up.
Seconds later, the dispatcher sends out the message to all units, “Shots fired. Shots fired.”
Warren police officials have declined to say much about the shooting, but have deferred questions to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is the investigative arm of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
Walker’s ties to both Warren and Detroit are among several connections between the two cities that local officials have investigated involving dozens of people and a slew of crimes from drug possession and robbery to felonious assault and murder.
Walker, who had been wounded by gunfire at least twice, was sentenced to a year in prison in 2009. He was suspected in the shooting death of a man that same year.
He was released from Trumbull County Jail Oct. 11 after a grand jury failed to indict him on charges of felonious assault and aggravated robbery in two holdups a year ago. He was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday on charges of tampering with evidence and failing to comply with the orders of a police officer.
His name could be heard Friday evening on police radio traffic just hours before he died. An officer on the dash cam recording can be heard saying that two other officers had called dispatch to advise that “Taemarr Walker was coming to shoot the bar up.”