By John W. GOODWIN Jr.
A city police officer involved in the shooting of an 18-year-old Austintown man in the parking lot of a South Side bar may soon be back on the job.
Officer Phil Chance Jr. has been on leave from the department since he shot Cory Timmings in late August. Chief Jimmy Hughes said placing an officer on leave after a shooting is fairly routine.
According to Hughes, Chance has been offered counseling while the investigation into the shooting progresses. He did not say whether Chance has taken part in any counseling, but did say counseling is available to any officer after a traumatic shooting.
Representatives from the city’s law department would not speak about the shooting or the status of the investigation, but Hughes said the investigation into the shooting is ongoing. He said the investigation thus far is showing that Chance did nothing wrong and he is looking at bringing the officer back to work.
I know he is anxious to get back to work, and it is my intent to get him back as soon as possible. I will talk to him and make a decision on that,” said Hughes.
According to Hughes, punishment could still be an option if it is determined that Chance was in the wrong, but investigators do not believe that is the case.
Timmings was shot in the parking lot of Pal Joey’s, a bar on East Midlothian Boulevard, at 2:36 a.m. Aug. 21. Chance was helping to break up a fight and disperse a large crowd at the bar when the shooting occurred, according to a police report.
The officer shouted to Timmings to lower the music coming from his car, the police report states.
Rather than turn down the music, Timmings drove toward Chance, hitting the officer and forcing him up on the car’s hood, the report states.
Timmings, reports said, wouldn’t stop even though Chance, who rolled off to the driver’s side, told the 18-year-old man that he was under arrest.
Chance reached inside the car, trying to turn off the ignition. Timmings then increased his speed, dragging Chance, the report said.
The officer, saying he felt his life was in danger, pulled out his gun and fired a shot inside the car toward the driver.
Timmings, shot in the upper back, sped away, but his car was pulled over by police on Lake Park Drive.
Timmings was hospitalized after the shooting, but has since recovered. Police are waiting on a blood test to determine if Timmings had been drinking during the incident. He has not been charged with any crimes.