Real Crime, Fake Gun? Westlake police investigate after robbery suspect killed

Shots fired after Westlake CVS robbery
Devan Thomas Desnoyers (Source: Fairview Park Police)
Devan Thomas Desnoyers (Source: Fairview Park Police)
The suspect fled the robbery in a white Mazda. (Source: WOIO)
The suspect fled the robbery in a white Mazda. (Source: WOIO)
Devan Thomas Desnoyers (Source: Facebook)
Devan Thomas Desnoyers (Source: Facebook)
(Source: Witness)
(Source: Witness)

WESTLAKE, OH (WOIO) - A man suspected of robbing a Westlake CVS was shot and killed after police said he fled the scene of the crime.

Two Westlake police officers fired their weapons at Devan Desnoyers as he fled. Police said Desnoyers, 26, robbed the CVS at 30791 Detroit Road at 9:31 a.m. and fled in a white Mazda. His car crashed at the intersection of Detroit and Crocker Roads.

A witness described hearing four to five shots, a pause, and then several more. Another witness said that the person in driver's seat was shot and was pulled from the car by First Responders.

Officers tried to save the man's life but were unable to revive him. He was pronounced dead at St. John Medical Center.

In April, Desnoyers was arrested by Fairview Park Police. In July he was indicted on 2 counts of burglary and 2 counts of theft/aggravated theft. He was out on $5,000 bond. The indictment says that between February and March of 2016 he broke into someone's house and stole between $1,000 and $7,500.

According to the court docket, he did not show up to a pretrial on Sept. 13 and there was a warrant for his arrest.

The officers involved include a 38-year-old with 13 years of experience and a 28-year-old with three years experience.

A weapon that is either a firearm or a very realistic-looking replica was recovered at the scene, police said. A third officer's cruiser was struck by the Desnoyers' vehicle during the incident; that officer was also uninjured.

"We recovered an item, a weapon.  We don't know whether it's a firearm or a very realistic replica. That will be for BCI to determine," said Police Captain Guy Turner.

Westlake officers and federal agents are investigating whether Desnoyers is the same person involved with a string of serial CVS drugstore robberies in the area (Lakewood, Cleveland and Olmsted Township) in the last three weeks. Opioids were taken in those robberies; the suspect passed a note that stated he had a gun in each incident.

"We had been made aware that there had been a serial robber hitting CVS drug stores, taking these particular prescription pills. So we were in a state of heightened awareness," said Turner. "The FBI and our officers are now looking into is he in fact the same guy who has been robbing CVS Drug Stores over the last three weeks."

The officers involved will be placed on administrative leave, as is customary in an officer-involved shooting. All indications are that the officers' use of force was appropriate.

"Preliminary indications are that our officers acted appropriately. Nobody looks forward to a day like this, but in the end, the public asks us to protect them from people like this," Turner said.

The big question now is whether the suspect had a real gun or a fake gun on him-- and did he use it to threaten police?

"I can't say that he displayed it, but the weapon we recovered from the car was either a real firearm or a very good imitation or replica. But what the mechanics were I don't know," said Capt. Turner.

Cleveland 19 News asked: "It's been a few hours, can you tell us if it was an actual gun or a fake gun?"

"No, no. BCI will examine the item and let us know," Turner said.

We did some digging into the suspect's background and found he faced charges in the past of theft and burglary for stealing jewelry and video game systems.

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