Off-duty East Cleveland cop indicted for shooting robber

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) – An East Cleveland police officer indicted for firing his gun while trying to stop a robber made his first court appearance Tuesday morning.

62-year-old Ernest Stanford was off-duty and working security at the Silverman's Store in East Cleveland when a bad guy came in to grab some quick cash. Stanford fired the weapon while the bad guy was running away and shot him.

A grand jury found the shooting unjustified. Stanford's boss revealed more about how it happened.

"He witnessed a robbery in progress with a male who'd robbed the store two weeks prior, same manner. The officer scuffled with him. During the struggle shots were fired. The male was hit once in the buttocks," explained East Cleveland Chief Ralph Spotts.

Now, Stanford faces felonious assault charges for being a "reckless cowboy" with his gun.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutors tell 19 Action News that a Grand Jury found that the shooting was not justified. The robber, who turned out to be career criminal Charles Eskridge was also indicted.

For now, Officer Stanford is on unpaid leave of absence and will head to court next week for trying to clean up the streets off-duty.

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