Officers cleared in South Side shooting
By Joe Gorman
A pair of city police officers involved in a shooting early Jan. 27 were cleared by an Internal Affairs investigation.
Reports said they tried to stop a masked man who was walking in the street.
The investigation by Capt. Jason Simon and Lt. Brian Butler, who is head of internal affairs, found that officers Timothy Edwards and Brandon Caraway followed all rules and regulations during the incident, which resulted in Gerald Wainwright, 25, of Hilton Avenue, being shot after Wainwright fired several shots at the officers.
The officers were not hit. They returned fire, wounding Wainwright three times. He has been released from St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital and is now in the Mahoning County jail, where he is awaiting trial on charges of felonious assault on a police officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
“This shows how dangerous this job can be,” Butler said. “Thankfully, no one was killed.”
Butler and Simon make up the department’s shooting team, which investigates any instances whenever officers are forced to use their weapons.
Caraway and Edwards were both in Car 205 on Jan. 27, and were patrolling the South Side on midnight turn about 2:30 a.m. when they ran across Wainwright on West Princeton Avenue near Hudson Avenue. Wainwright was walking in the roadway, which is prohibited in the city and a minor misdemeanor; and he was also wearing a mask that covered his face except for his eyes and he was also carrying a backpack.
The officers drove past Wainwright and then turned around at the end of the street, putting their lights on because they intended to question Wainwright, the report said.
Instead, Wainwright began running away and as he did he reached for something on the side of his waist, dropping the backpack in the process in the parking lot of the old Princeton Elementary, the report said.
Wainwright then pulled a Kahr 9mm semi-automatic pistol out and fired three shots at the officers. Edwards then fired with his departmental issue .40-caliber Sig Sauer semiautomatic handgun through the window of his cruiser while Caraway ducked down in his seat, then got out and saw Wainwright still holding his weapon and fired at him, the report said. Edwards got out of the cruiser at about the same time and fired several shots as well, reports said.
Wainwright continued running and Edwards chased him on foot, firing two more shots at Wainwright who was still clutching something on his right side like he might have a weapon. Those shots did not hit him, reports said. Wainwright gave up after he stopped in a nearby yard and other officers arrived and ordered him to show his hands, reports said.
Edwards gave Wainwright first aid until paramedics arrived and had Wainwright’s blood on his clothes, which were taken for evidence.
Wainwright later admitted to firing one round from his pistol up in the air and told investigators he never fired directly at the officers.
The report said the two officers acted within the scope of their duties and followed the department’s policy for the use of deadly force, which says officers can use deadly force if they think their life or the life of someone else is in danger; or to stop someone from harming someone else if they escape.
Both officers are former Marines and both are highly decorated. Caraway, 29, hired in 2015, has been decorated by the department six times and Edwards, 26, hired in 2013, has been decorated 12 times. Among those decorations for Edwards are the department’s Lifesaving Award, which he has received three times. Neither has ever had a complaint filed against them.
“These officers did an excellent job responding to a dangerous situation,” said police Chief Robin Lees. “They kept their cool.”