Cleveland police chief gives update on SWAT standoff
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Two men are in critical condition and a Cleveland police officer was injured during an early Tuesday shootout and SWAT standoff outside a downtown strip club.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said two men fired shots three different times during the six-hour standoff. Officers returned fire twice, hitting two armed men, Williams said.
A gunshot grazed a Cleveland SWAT officer during the shootout. He was treated and released at MetroHealth, police said.
"Our officers are okay, thankfully so, because this could have been a lot worse," Williams said.
Williams said police officers about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday were walking outside the Magic City strip club on routine patrols.
The officers spotted four men inside a car and the men moving suspiciously, Williams said. The officers saw a gun on a seat inside the car and tried to get the men to get out of the car, Williams said.
Two men got out but the others remained in the car, Williams said.
The officers also noticed the gun was no longer on the seat. The officers thought one of the men had the gun, Williams said.
The officers called for a SWAT team that surrounded the car on East 23rd Street. Negotiators tried several times to coax the men out of the car, Williams said.
The men opened fire on the officers as they tried to get closer to the car. Police did not return fire.
Later, the SWAT team tried more negotiations with the suspects, who continued to refuse to talk to police. The men fired several more shots at the officers, and a bullet grazed the SWAT officer's leg.
Police returned fire this time. One of the men got out of the car and fired several more shots, Williams said. Officers fired back and struck the man, Williams said.
The officers backed off and later got the man off the sidewalk and into an ambulance, Williams said. A Cuyahoga County Sheriff SWAT team robot retrieved the gun that was lying next to the man.
The officers approached the car about 7:30 a.m. for the final time and arrested the other man inside the car without incident, Williams said. He also suffered gunshot wounds during the shootout, Williams said.
Williams said he is not sure why the men refused to get out of the car. He said they had not yet identified who they were. Both men were rushed into surgery, Williams said. They have not been publicly identified.
"We have a lot of evidence to gather," Williams said. "We're going to be out here for a while."
The two men's car had several bullet holes and smashed windows. Blood stained the sidewalk outside the car. The Cleveland SWAT tank smashed against the car and moved it up onto the sidewalk.
Detectives marked more than 60 pieces of evidence outside at the scene. The standoff caused a three-block radius to be closed for hours.
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