AKRON – Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and the Akron police today are holding a news conference Firestone Park Community center in Akron, not far from the parking lot where police fatally shot 25-year-old Jayland Walker early Monday.
The city released body cam footage that showed police firing a seconds-long barrage of bullets at Walker, who was unarmed after fleeing his vehicle. He died at the scene, after police provided first aid, said police Chief Steve Mylett.
At 12:30 a.m. Monday, police say they attempted to pull Walker over for traffic and equipment violations. Officers said they saw and heard gunshots as Walker headed southbound on Route 8. After slowing his vehicle near the Firestone Park neighborhood, minutes from the University of Akron main campus, Walker took off on foot toward a nearby parking lot, where he was fatally shot by police.
The city released body cam video from officers, as well as a timeline of the shooting and information on the eight officers involved. The city streamed the news conference on its YouTube page.
“I’ve talked about being beyond outraged and beyond shocked,” Horrigan said. “The video you’re about to watch is heartbreaking.”
The city released two videos, the first narrated with notes and still photos. In the video, police reported a shot fired from Walker’s car, with led police on a chase of speeds up to 70 mph on Route 8. It shows the officer using tasers and a handgun, ammunition and what appears to be a gold wedding ring found in the front seat of Walker’s Buick.
The second video showed police surrounded the still-moving car and Walker, as he fled. Officers fired dozens of bullets, lasting seconds.
The police department does not have police car dash cameras.
The NAACP held a rally on Sunday following the press conference. A protest march proceeded through Akron and ended at Akron City Hall.
Horrigan stood with community members at the news conference to ask for peace at the rally.
Walker’s family’s attorney, Bobby DiCello, said officers shot 90 times, hitting Walker 60 times in the face, abdomen, buttocks, back, both arms and both legs.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Ohio attorney general’s office will investigate the shooting. The Akron police department’s internal affairs department is also investigating.
“I am urging all our residents, please reserve your full judgment until the investigation is complete,” Horrigan said. “You’ll have to do one of the most difficult things I can ever ask somebody to do and that is to please be patient.”
Mylett said an investigation will show how many times Walker was shot. The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office has said Walker died of multiple gunshot wounds but has not yet released a preliminary autopsy. An investigation shows more than 60 wounds, Mylett said. He said it is possible that 90 shots were fired.
When a shot was fired from Walker’s car, he said, “it went from being a routine traffic stop to a public safety issue.”
He said officers, who are on paid administrative leave, believed Walker was reaching for a gun in his waistband when he left the car.
Summit County Black elected leaders, including U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown, have called for justice. And protests are growing in the city, where Horrigan canceled the annual Rib, White and Blue weekend festival.
At the conference, Akron Deputy Mayor Marco Sommerville praised the city’s charter amendment requiring body cam footage to be released within seven days, as well as as the independent investigation.
“I know there’s anger,” Sommerville said. “I have sons. It could have been my son. It’s OK to protest, but we also ask them to do it in a peaceful manner.”
Mylett offered condolences to Walker’s family and thanked them for their calls for peace.
“If Jayland reflects the character of this family, which I continually heard that he did, you raised a good son.”