The officer was one of 12 trying to arrest a rape suspect.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- A veteran police officer trying to arrest a rape suspect was killed early Thursday when a bullet struck him in a small area under his arm not protected by his bulletproof vest, police officials said.
Detective Jonathan James Schroeder, 37, a 10-year veteran of the city's force, was pronounced dead at MetroHealth Medical Center, said Martin Flask, the city's safety director.
Schroeder died of a single gunshot wound to his upper left chest area, according to Cuyahoga County Coroner Elizabeth Balraj, who ruled the death a homicide.
Schroeder is the fourth Cleveland police officer since 1996 to be killed in the line of duty. The previous one was patrolman Wayne Leon in June 2000.
"These incidents happen. They don't become easier. Each one becomes more difficult," Flask said.
He and Mayor Frank Jackson consoled members of Schroeder's family at the hospital early Thursday, Flask said. He said Schroeder was father of a 10-month-old child.
Jackson left the hospital without comment. Many Cleveland police officers also visited the hospital. Several shed tears and others hugged.
Flask and police Commander Ed Tomba said Schroeder was a distinguished and well-regarded detective who never shied away from a tough assignment.
Volunteered for assignment
Schroeder had volunteered to be among the 12 law enforcement officers, from both the Cleveland force and the Cuyahoga County sheriff's department, to serve an arrest warrant on Wilson Santiago, 37. Tomba said a team of officers serving the warrant were aware that Santiago has an extensive criminal record.
The officers surrounded a two-story house on a corner lot on Cleveland's west side about midnight as Schroeder and his supervisor went to the wooden, windowless front door. Tomba said the door was opened from inside and quickly slammed shut just before a bullet came through the door, striking Schroeder.
Tomba said officers' bulletproof vests have protective front and back panels that attach on the sides of a wearer, and the bullet entered through a tiny opening in Schroeder's vest.
"Maybe an inch either way, and perhaps we wouldn't be here talking about this," Tomba said.