Cleveland Police Kill Car Theft Suspect

CLEVELAND (AP) - Police shot and killed a man suspected of car theft when he attempted to draw weapon on them, the Cleveland police chief said.

The Cuyahoga County coroner's staff on Saturday identified the shooting victim as Craig Bickerstaff, 27, of Cleveland. He was the son of a former city police officer.

Autopsy results were not yet available late Sunday, police said.

Chief Mary Bounds said two police officers responding to a reported car theft about 8 a.m. Saturday found a suspect matching a description.

"They collected ID from this male and started asking him questions. When they started asking him questions, he became nervous and started to run," Bounds said.

When the two officers caught him, there was a struggle involving a weapon on the suspect, the chief said. Investigators later found a handgun at the crime scene.

The police officers who fired their guns are on administrative leave pending an investigation. They were treated for minor injuries.

Bickerstaff's stepmother, Myrtle Bickerstaff, said his father, Roscoe Bickerstaff, was a Cleveland officer who died in 1987.

On Jan. 15, police fatally shot Jermaine Sanders, 25, on the city's east side. Police said he tried to run over two plainclothes officers.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)