Cleveland, OH – A man who opened fire on a Cleveland police officer was allowed to go free on Tuesday night, after a supervising officer issued an order to terminate pursuit of the gunman’s vehicle.
Police believed the same vehicle had rammed into a patrol car on Apr. 6, WJW reported.
“Just had a vehicle take a shot at me,” an officer said over the radio, according to recordings obtained by WJW. “I’m behind it.”
“I’m close to it,” he told his fellow officers. “[The shooter] fired one shot.”
But as police pursued the suspect at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour, a directive was issued to “terminate that chase,” according to the recording.
“I don’t know what this street is, and I’m not familiar with this area,” an officer said at one point.
The officers were then told to terminate the pursuit, if they were “out of the city,” according to the radio traffic recording.
“I’m in the city,” an officer responded. “He went back into Cleveland.”
A supervising officer then came on the radio, and issued a further directive.
“I cannot get through on the radio,” he said. “You’re gonna have to terminate that pursuit. You’re not allowing me to get info.”
“All cars, do not engage. Terminate that pursuit,” the supervisor reiterated.
The officer who the suspect had opened fire on spoke up once again.
“This male shot at me,” the officer said. “Are you telling me to disengage? Is that what you’re telling me?”
“Yeah, you’re outta control,” the supervisor responded. “You’re not allowing me to monitor the radio.”
Officers were dumbfounded and infuriated that a gunman who shot at a police officer was allowed to escape, WJW reported.
A Cleveland Police Department spokesperson issued a written statement in the aftermath of the incident, and said that the decision was the responsibility of the sector supervisor.
“The decision to allow or terminate a chase is influenced by a number of factors such as time of day, auto and pedestrian traffic, weather conditions, and suspect behavior, and the crime committed with the highest emphasis placed on public safety,” the statement further read, according to WJW.
It was unclear whether or not department administrators considered a situation in which a gunman opened fire on an officer to be a threat to public safety.
The officer was not injured in the attack, and no arrests have been made in relation to the shooting, WJW reported.