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Audio tape discloses details of fatal police-involved shooting in Youngstown

Click here for audio tape of chase:

YOUNGSTOWN — The man who was shot and killed by a Struthers police officer Friday afternoon on Youngstown’s West Side led police on a 7-mile chase on a route that normally takes about 10 minutes to navigate, according to Google maps.

The chase on Friday that began at a drive-thru on State Street in Struthers lasted less than 5 minutes, according to a recording of police radio traffic released by Struthers police Chief Tim Roddy on Saturday.

The call begins with the unidentified officer telling dispatchers he is making a traffic stop, followed a few seconds later by him saying the driver “just hit me” and he was in pursuit on State Street. There is a Wildcat Drive-Thru at 84 State St., but it is unknown if that is the drive-thru referenced in the call.

The officer says the driver, a “white male,” tried ramming him in the drive-thru, and they were heading west on State Street approaching the Center Street bridge, which goes over the Mahoning River and connects Campbell to the South Side of Youngstown. The officer tells dispatchers the driver’s license plate number and to call Youngstown police for assistance, according to the recording. The officer says they are passing Allied Erecting on Poland Avenue and are “passing vehicles.” He says the driver is turning onto Wilson Avenue from the Center Street bridge with the officer still following. The chase then goes onto Cherry Street before heading west onto Wilson Avenue.

The officer and the driver then enter the Himrod Avenue expressway toward the state Route 7 / U.S. Route 62 exit west ramp. He asks dispatchers to have a Youngstown cruiser get ahead of them and lay down “stop sticks.”

The chase then enters Interstate 680 north and the officer tells dispatchers “based on the address, he may be heading toward Austintown.” The pursuit passes the Glenwood Avenue exit off I-680 and the officer sounds confused about where he is as he tries to give an update on his location.

The vehicles then get off the Steel Street exit on the West Side and as the dispatcher says they are approaching Salt Springs Road, the officer can be heard yelling in the background “shots fired, shots fired” and calls for an ambulance and to notify the chief.

“He is shot. He aimed a gun at (inaudible),” the officer says, repeating his location at Steel Street and Salt Springs Road.

The entire recording lasted 5 minutes and 13 seconds.

Roddy said on Friday that officers were able to stop the vehicle as it was making a turn onto Steel Street from Salt Springs Road and they used a stun gun on the driver, who then pulled out a gun. Struthers officers fired on the driver and killed him.

He said per department policy, the officer or officers involved will be placed on paid leave while the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation investigates the shooting. Roddy said he was unsure how many officers fired at the driver.

It was unclear what time the pursuit started, but Youngstown police Capt. Jason Simon said his officers joined the pursuit around 5 p.m. He said no Youngstown officers were involved in any use of force during the incident.

Roddy said Saturday he could not release any more information on the fatal shooting, including the victim’s identity, until the prosecutor’s office gives approval.

news@vindy.com

news@tribtoday.com

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