AKRON, Ohio aEUR” A Black man was shot and killed by Akron officers following a foot and vehicle pursuit. Although he wasn't armed at the time, a shot was fired from the vehicle during the pursuit. Officers said that they feared he was preparing fire and they fired their weapons.
Sunday's video was released by police. The mayor described it as "heartbreaking" and urged the community to be patient while the state investigates the shooting.
Chief Steve Mylett stated that officers tried to stop Walker's vehicle early Monday morning for unspecified equipment and traffic violations. However, less than one minute into the pursuit, a sound was heard from the car. A transportation department camera captured what appeared like a muzzle flash from the vehicle. Mylett stated that this changed the nature and scope of the case from a "routine traffic stop" to a "public safety issue".
Police stated that Walker fled on foot after the vehicle stopped moving for a few moments. Walker was wearing a ski mask when he emerged from the vehicle. Officers later discovered a handgun, loaded magazine, and a wedding band on Walker's seat. A casing that was consistent with the weapon was also found at the spot where they believed a shot had been fired from the vehicle.
After failing to use stun devices, the foot chase ended at a parking lot. At that point, a crescendo sound of bullets can also be heard. Mylett stated that he had watched the video many times. Walker's actions at that time are difficult to discern. One still photo appears to show Walker "going down to the waist area", while another shows him turning towards officers, and a third image "captures a forward movement of his arm."
Myett stated that the officers who fired the shots were separated from one another and kept under surveillance. Then, arriving investigators took them through the scene individually, Myett explained.
He said that each officer, independently of the other, felt that Walker had turned and been moving towards a firing position.
Mylett stated that an officer who fires at someone must be "ready to justify their actions, they must be able articulate the specific threats they faced, and they should be held accountable." He said that he will not judge their actions until they make their statements. The union president told him that all of them are "fully cooperating with the investigation."
Although police stated that Walker sustained more than 60 injuries, more investigation is needed to determine how many rounds were fired by the eight officers and how often Walker was struck. Mylett stated that while officers offered assistance, one could be heard saying Walker still had a pulse. However, he was declared dead on the spot.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost promised a "completely fair and expert investigation" but cautioned that body-worn camera footage was only one view of the entire picture aEUR before drawing any conclusions.
Officers involved in the shooting were placed on paid administrative leaves, as is common in such cases.
After the release of the video, Walker's family demanded accountability and peace. Bobby DiCello (an attorney) stated that Walker was not on the ground when police opened fire and that Walker was handcuffed before police attempted to give first aid.
DiCello stated that Walker's family does not know the reason he fled police. Walker was grieving his fiancee's recent death, but his family didn't seem to be concerned beyond that, DiCello stated.
DiCello stated that he felt sad but was coping. He stated that he didn't know if the ring located near the gun belonged Walker.