Ohio officer won’t be charged in deadly shooting after chase
(AP) – A police officer won’t face any state charges for fatally shooting a 19-year-old man after a car chase that began with a stop for a loud muffler near Cleveland, Ohio’s attorney general said today.
A Cuyahoga County grand jury on Thursday declined to indict the East Cleveland officer, who said he fired after seeing Vincent Belmonte reach for a gun in his hoodie, said Attorney General Dave Yost.
Belmonte was shot three times after he ran from a car he was driving and climbed over a fence Jan. 5, authorities have said.
Shortly afterward, East Cleveland’s police chief said Belmonte had pointed a gun at Sgt. Larry McDonald before he fired back. McDonald told another officer that Belmonte’s gun was in his hand, police said.
Body camera video later released from another officer showed that Belmonte’s gun fell out of the front of his sweatshirt after he had been shot, Cleveland.com reported.
McDonald could be heard yelling “stop” and “don’t do it” before the shooting on audio from the other officer’s body camera, said Assistant Attorney General Anthony Pierson.
Body camera footage did not capture the shooting. McDonald had briefly turned on his camera but turned it off seconds later before the shooting, Pierson said.
McDonald told investigators he thought he had turned it on, Pierson said.
A message seeking comment with an attorney representing Belmonte’s family.
McDonald pulled over Belmonte, of Garrettsville, for a loud muffler, but he took off and led the officer on a chase before he hit a fire hydrant and his car caught fire, Pierson said. The car had been reported stolen in October, he said.
Belmonte’s relatives said he had borrowed the car in January to take his girlfriend to work.
At the time of the shooting, McDonald was on departmental probation for getting a woman released from jail, pressuring her for a date and harassing her over the following weeks, Cleveland.com reported.