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Grand jury declines to indict East Cleveland police officer who fatally shot Vincent Belmonte

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 9:51 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2021 at 11:21 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost provided an update on the case involving Vincent Belmonte, the man who was shot and killed by an East Cleveland police officer in January 2021.

The state’s attorney general said, after reviewing facts and evidence, a Cuyahoga County grand jury decided not to indict East Cleveland Police Sgt. Larry McDonald for the fatal shooting of Belmonte.

Yost outlined the details of the case and how the grand jury reached the “no bill” decision against McDonald during a Friday morning press conference.

“The loss of life is always a tragedy, and especially the death of such a young man,” Yost said. “A grand jury made up of Cuyahoga County citizens determined that Sgt. Larry McDonald acted within the bounds of the law.”

According to Yost, McDonald was training another officer when he noticed belmonte’s vehicle, which was later determined to be stolen, and attempted to pull him over because of a loud muffler.

Belmonte, who was the driver, along with two other passengers led the East Cleveland officers on a short vehicle pursuit, but all three eventually fled from the car because of a crash and damaged tires.

Yost said Belmonte was chased by police through yards in the neighborhood and eventually over a fence, which McDonald was unable to successfully climb over. That is when McDonald observed Belmonte attempting to get something from his hooded-sweatshirt while on the other side of the fence, according to the attorney general, prompting him to fire his department-issued gun three times.

Autopsy results show that the 19-year-old was shot from the front in the right arm, which entered into his chest, as well as in the back of his head and the lower right back.

Belmonte died at the crime scene along Allandale Avenue.

Vincent Belmonte of Cleveland
Vincent Belmonte of Cleveland(East Cleveland , Euclid Ave.)

Investigators said Belmonte was found to have a firearm with an extended magazine in his possession during the pursuit; a gun that Yost said McDonald observed during the chase.

The officer-involved shooting case was turned over to the state’s attorney general’s office and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations to determine if East Cleveland Police Sgt. Larry McDonald’s actions were justified and whether he should face felony charges.

All of the investigative documents related to the fatal officer-involved shooting were released to the public by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office following Yost’s remarks.

Here are the investigative videos shared in a Youtube playlist:

East Cleveland Police Chief Scott Gardner previously said there was some sort of violation or error with how McDonald operated his body camera during the incident, leaving only several seconds of footage available from the shooting.

Chief Gardner said that was not a fireable offense. McDonald was eventually placed back to work with the East Cleveland Police Department, but on modified duty.

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