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Police chatter during deadly chase raises questions

11:29 AM, Dec 4, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- More than 90 minutes of radio recordings from  Thursday's police pursuit shed new light on what led up to the deadly shooting of 2 suspects.

The driver, Timothy Russell, and his passenger, Malissa Williams, were killed when police fired 137 shots following a high speed chase.

"Use caution. Occupants are armed," says a dispatcher.

From the start of the chase that began in downtown Cleveland, and travelled to the westside and ended in East Cleveland, officers believed the two suspects had a gun.

"He's pointing a gun. He's pointing a gun out the back window. Heads up! Heads up!" said an officer, in the recordings.

"Passenger's turning back around and pointing a firearm," said another.

But 16 minutes into the chase, there is a change in the suspects' description.

"He does not have a gun. He has black gloves on. He does not have a gun in his hand," said an unidentified officer.

"There's a pop can in his hand. There's a red pop can in his hand," said another.

However, other officers made conflicting observations:

"That car that went by us, fired off a round, and he is now behind them."

"Passenger's pointing a gun out the back window of the vehicle! Passenger's pointing a gun out the back of the vehicle!"

The chase ended outside Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland, where 13 officers opened fire.

"Shots fired! Shots fired!" an officer yelled, to his dispatcher.

Russell and Williams were killed in a hail of gunfire. Police did not find a gun on them or in their car.

However, in order to shed light on whether the suspects ever had a gun in their possession during the pursuit,  the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner will conduct gun-residue tests on Russell and Williams.

The results could take several weeks.


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