CLEVELAND (AP) - Police officers acted properly when they shot and killed a man who pointed an unloaded gun at them, the city prosecutor has ruled.
"The officers were faced with an immediate threat of harm," prosecutor Sanford Watson said. "In situations like these, things happen in a matter of seconds."
Nine officers did not know the .357-caliber handgun was not loaded when they opened fire on Michael Ciacchi, 38, Jan. 9 as Ciacchi stood in the driveway of his home.
He died from seven gunshot wounds, the Cuyahoga County coroner ruled.
The shooting happened about three hours after Ciacchi sped away from a suburban Valley View police officer who pulled him over for speeding.
Valley View and Cleveland police found Ciacchi in the parking lot of a restaurant. When they surrounded him, he stood outside his car and pointed the handgun to his head, then jumped back in his car and sped off.
Police chased him to a driveway where he again jumped out of his car. Then he pointed the handgun at his chin. Then Ciacchi pointed the gun at police and the officers opened fire. Police later found Ciacchi's gun was not loaded.
Watson's ruling opens the way for the officers to return to regular duty. They were placed on paid leave while the shooting was investigated, which is routine procedure.