New information released on fatal shooting of Cleveland man by CMHA police officer
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Officials have released new information about the fatal shooting of a Cleveland man Thursday afternoon by a Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) police officer.
Demond Eskridge, 42, died after being taken to University Hospitals, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner.
A CMHA Police officer and a Sergeant with the department were called when Eskridge threw a bed frame, chairs, a television, and a hatchet from his seventh-floor balcony at the Union Square Apartments on East 98th on Thursday night. CMHA Police Chief Andres Gonzalez, says officers went up to man’s apartment to talk to him and try and calm him down, but instead, a violent struggle ensured, “We encountered the individual who approached our officers and then a struggle began. In the course of that struggle, the individual was able to get control of one of our officers firearms. He discharged a round towards one of our Sergeants who was there to support him.”
The police shooting happened around 5:45 p.m. at the Union Square apartments located at East 98th Street and Union Avenue in the city’s Union - Miles neighborhood.
Sources told 19 News the man appeared to be having a mental health crisis and was combative with police.
Chief Gonzalez says his officers tried to end the confrontation without anyone getting hurt, “There was an opportunity to try and subdue him. We used a taser, we tried to get him under control as best as possible. Then the individual continued his aggressive actions.”
The CMHA officer was thrown to the ground and suffered a head injury, but the suspect also bit off the tip of the police officer’s left index finger, according to the chief.
The struggle escalated, “Inevitably the firearm was transferred from the sergeant over to the officer, who discharged another round and this time we were able to subdue the individual,” Chief Gonzalez told 19 News.
Despite, life-saving efforts on the scene, Eskridge died at the hospital.
The Cleveland Division of Polices Use of Force team and homicide detectives immediately responded. But the big question is was the suspect still holding on to the officer’s gun when police shot him? The police chief says as Cleveland Police investigate, body camera video is expected to answer any questions about the shooting, “As we go through this process the evaluation process, part of it is also trying to slow things down. Trying to take things and understand them as they occurred.”
The officer’s injuries were non-life threatening, and police say he is home currently recovering.
The shooting is being investigated by the Cleveland Division of Police Use of Force team, and both the officer and the sergeant are currently on administration leave, as is protocol whenever an officer involved shooting occurs.
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