EAST CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A man and woman are dead after a high speed chase that began in Cleveland and ended in East Cleveland.
Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath says the chase lasted 20 minutes and 13 Cleveland police officers fired at least 137 rounds at the victims. They have all been placed on a paid three-day leave and when they return they will attend a mandatory wellness program.
Both suspects were pronounced dead at the scene.
According to police the victims were a homeless woman in her 30's and a man, identified as Timothy Russell, 43. The woman's name will be released once family is notified.
Police say the citywide chase began after a Cleveland Police officer heard what he thought was a gunshot come from the car, while it was driving through downtown.
East Cleveland Police are in charge of the investigation though no East Cleveland officers were actually involved in the shootings.
"No gun or shell casings were found in the victim's vehicle," said Ralph Spotts, East Cleveland's police chief.
The incident began around 10 p.m. Thursday on West St. Clair Ave. near the Justice Center in downtown Cleveland. According to a Cleveland officer, someone inside a vehicle that drove past appeared to have fired a gunshot at or in the vicinity of the officer.
The driver of the vehicle refused to stop, and police pursued the vehicle.
The chase went from downtown to W. 85th to Clark St., past Steelyard Commons to the freeway, to the E. 72nd Exit. The chase then went east of Eddy Rd. then back west to Eddy Rd. and then into East Cleveland, where they finally stopped at 14600 Terrace Rd., the parking lot of Heritage Middle School.
Neighbors around Heritage Middle School says so many shots were fired it sounded like a fireworks display. Cars in the school parking lot were also pummeled with bullet holes.
Both departments are referring to the incident as a sad and unfortunate situation.
The Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association released this statement after the city hall news conference:
Jeff Follmer, President of The Police Union, said, "The union disagrees with the chief. Once the officers are interviewed the evidence will show the officers were justified in their actions."