Man shot by police officer has lengthy criminal record
A city man who was shot by a police officer while reportedly trying to run the officer down with his car has several felony cases pending in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Police charged Jesse Cooper, 39, of West Ravenwood Avenue, with felonious assault, a charge that could send him to prison for 10 years, after officials say he tried to run down a patrolman Sunday on the West Side. The officer fired several shots, hitting Cooper at least once. Cooper is still recuperating in St. Elizabeth Health Center.
Officer Brad Ditullio, the officer who shot Cooper after being struck by the car, has been found to have broken no laws or departmental regulations in the shooting. He is still off duty recovering.
The situation began from what should have been a routine traffic stop in the area of Richview and Connecticut avenues.
DiTullio attempted to stop Cooper for expired tags on the dark green 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix he was driving, but Cooper attempted to escape from the officer by driving through rear yards.
Police Chief Rod Foley said DiTullio attempted to cut off Cooper’s escape by cutting off his path out of the backyards onto Connecticut. When the officer lost sight of the car and left his cruiser to search the rear yards on foot, he saw the Pontiac headed directly for him, Foley said.
An internal-affairs report says Ditullio was hit by the front of the car and rolled to the passenger-side area, getting stuck on the driver’s-side mirror. He then fired two shots into the car hitting Cooper twice in the abdomen as Cooper continued to accelerate.
“Obviously this individual, in our minds, was not attempting to elude the officer. He was attempting to hit the officer,” Foley said. “This individual had time to flee the vehicle and actually lost sight of the officer for several seconds, which is why the officer got of the car to search for him.”
Foley said Cooper was being pulled over for expired plates and later told police he ran because he does not have a valid driver’s license. Police did not find any drugs or weapons inside the car.
Mahoning County court records show Cooper already has a pending case for felony receiving stolen property for which he is slated to be arraigned the day after Christmas. He also pleaded guilty this year to another charge of felony receiving stolen property from a 2011 case for which he is to be sentenced Jan. 8.
Cooper has also faced a litany of charges in the county going back to 1997, including receiving stolen property, theft, obstructing official business, burglary, rape, resisting arrest, theft by deception and fleeing and eluding.