Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said it appears that Jayland Walker reached toward his waist during a foot chase with police and briefly turned toward officers before they opened fire Monday morning.
During a press conference Sunday, Mylett spoke in detail for the first time since the fatal shooting of the 25-year-old after he fled what started as a routine traffic stop.
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Police released two videos during the press conference. The first was narrated and edited to show key moments in what happened, including an image of a flash coming from the door of Walker’s Buick.
Mylett said that’s when the police response changed.
“It went from being a routine traffic stop to now a public safely issue,” Mylett said after the video played.
The second video was the body camera of the real-time perspective of the officer who initiated the traffic stop until the burst of gunfire that killed Walker.
Walker was wearing a black ski mask over his face when he jumped from his car, police said.
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Eight officers fired shots while five others present did not, Mylett said. A document released by Akron showed seven had been on the force for four or less years and one had six years of experience. None have received any prior discipline, been found at fault for "substantiated complaints" or involved in a prior fatal shooting, the city said.
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Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan called the video "heartbreaking."
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The lead attorney for the Walker family, Bobby DiCello, was not happy with the way Akron officials presented information during Sunday's press conference.
"They want to turn him into a masked monster with a gun. And we knew that,” DiCello said.
But a court, he cautioned, won't allow that.
“I want you to know that when I go to court for this family, the judge will look at me and say, 'You are not allowed, lead counsel, to look at a shooting like an armchair quarterback. You’re not allowed to look back at the shooting for the end of the story and give snapshots in time,' " DiCello said.
Did Jayland Walker shoot at police?
Walker left a handgun, ammunition clip and what appears to be a gold wedding ring on the driver’s seat, according to the video released by the city.
Walker's fiancee, Jaymeisha Beasley, died in an accident last month.
Walker was unarmed as he fled his car and ran from police, Mylett said.
A sound consistent with a gunshot is audible in the police bodycam video from early in the chase that was released Sunday.
Mylett, who has been chief for 10 months, withheld judgment over whether the police shooting — which may have involved about 90 shots with most hitting Walker — was justified.
But he said when an officer “makes the most critical decision in his or her life ”to point a gun at someone, they must not only be ready to explain shooting, but to explain “for every round down the barrel of gun.”
Was Jayland Walker shot 60 times?
Police did not say Sunday how many shots police fired or how many struck Walker, but Mylett said the number is likely consistent with what has already been reported — more than 90 shots fired by police with about 60 of those hitting Walker.
For the first time in Akron Police Department history, a police-involved shooting has been turned over to outside investigators at the state Bureau of Investigation and Identification.
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Those investigators will determine how many shots were fired, Mylett said Sunday. The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office is responsible for determining how many times Walker was struck, he said.
“People want and deserve answers, and they shall have them. BCI will conduct a complete, fair and expert investigation,” Ohio Attorney General Yost said Sunday in a prepared statement. “Body-worn camera footage is just one view of the whole picture — before drawing conclusions, the full review must take place.”
An Akron Beacon Journal reporter last week viewed medical examiner photos of Walker that showed that he was shot multiple times in the face, torso and upper legs. It was unclear, however, how many bullet wounds there were and which were entry or exit wounds.
Akron FOP defends officers' actions in fatal shooting
The Akron Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents officers, issued a statement after the press conference saying that it believed the investigation will determine the actions officers took, along with the number of shots fired, were justified.
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Among other things, the FOP release pointed out that Akron officers knew Walker had fled from suburban police the morning before.
Walker family, city leaders urge peaceful response by community
DiCello said Walker's family did agree with city officials on one thing: peace.
Horrigan urged the community to be patient as the state investigators continue their probe, handing it off to the state attorney general's office, which will consider whether officers will face any criminal charges.
Horrigan said he knows people will protest to air their grievances in public, but hopes the community agrees that any violence or destruction is wrong.
Over the next few days, Horrigan said, Akron will hear a constant message: "Peace in our city.”
Walker's family echoed that sentiment through DiCello, saying: "The world is watching us. Please be peaceful.”
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Beacon Journal staff writer Doug Livingston contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Did Jayland Walker shoot at police: Akron releases body cam videos