12-Year-Old Driver Shot By Police Officer

CLEVELAND – A 12-year-old Cleveland boy is in a local hospital fighting for his life after being struck by police gunfire while he was driving a car, 19/43 News' Wendy Gillette reported.

Witnesses said that it looked like something out of the Wild West, as a police officer clung to a car coming across the busy Van Aken Boulevard and Drexmore Road intersection.

The car finally came to rest in a grassy area near the intersection, and that's when police said the officer shot the young driver.

Many of those people who witnessed the incident decided to call 911 for help.

"The Cleveland cop was on the very back of the station wagon," one caller said. "The car went flying around the corner after it smashed into a tree."

Police said that an officer guarding Cleveland Mayor-elect Jane Campbell's house saw the station wagon suddenly stop short. When the officer walked toward the car, police said that it quickly reversed, smashing into a tree. Then it sped up, hitting the officer.

Police said that he was knocked on to the station wagon. As the car accelerated, the officer hung on for dear life.

"This Cleveland cop is literally on the back of the (car)," the caller said. "It has an aerodynamic trim that goes across the top.

"It's like a spoiler. He had grabbed a hold of that spoiler, and was physically on the very back."

The officer got off the car just as it came to a stop on Drexmore Road. Soon after, the officer reportedly fired into the vehicle, striking the driver.

"I heard gunfire," neighbor Diana Petrauskas said. "I was in the back of the house, and I heard 'pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.'"

"The Cleveland Police are shooting up in the air, and our bus is caught in the middle," a school bus driver that witnessed the shooting said.

Thankfully, no children were on the bus.

Police said that the driver of the station wagon was the only person hit by gunfire. Police said that the car was stolen.

The young driver's 14-year-old passenger was taken into custody.

Some witnesses said that they saw the 12-year-old and 14-year-old fire a weapon, but police have not confirmed that. An independent prosecutor will investigate the actions of the officer.