Jayland Walker suffered at least 60 wounds when Akron, Ohio, police officers fatally shot him during a pursuit last week, Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett said Sunday, citing a medical examiner’s report.
However, the medical examiner is “still working to determine entrance and exit wounds,” Mylett said, and it remains unclear how many times Walker was shot.
City officials also played police body camera footage of the shooting for the first time Sunday, nearly a week after the fatal shooting, which police said occurred when Walker fled as officers tried to initiate a traffic stop for traffic and equipment violations.
According to police, a gunshot was fired from Walker’s car during the vehicle pursuit.
“That changes the whole nature of the traffic stop. It went from being a routine traffic stop, to now a public safety issue. And then the pursuit continued,” Mylett said.
Walker, 25, got out of his car and a foot chase took place, police said. Officers deployed Tasers, Mylett said, but they were unsuccessful in subduing Walker. The incident ended in a flurry of gunfire when, according to a police timeline laid out Sunday, Walker “stopped and quickly turned towards the officers.”
According to Mylett, the officers involved “related that they felt that Mr. Walker had turned and was motioning and moving into a firing position.”
Walker was unarmed at the time he was shot, Mylett confirmed Sunday. A handgun and loaded magazine were found in Walker’s car after the shooting, police said, along with a gold ring.
Eight officers were “directly involved in the shooting,” Mylett said, and all have been placed on paid administrative leave, according to department policy.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations, which is investigating the fatal shooting, has yet to confirm the number of times Walker was shot, Mylett said, and it’s still not known how many rounds were fired.
“However, based on the video, I anticipate that number to be high,” he said. “A lot of rounds were fired.”
Mylett said that after the deadly shooting, officers retrieved a shell casing from near the scene of the attempted traffic stop.
“A casing was discovered at that location, consistent with the firearm that Mr. Walker had in his vehicle. The BCI will determine whether or not that casing came from the gun or not,” Mylett said.
He added that a traffic camera captured “what we believe to be a muzzle flash coming out of the car. Again the BCI will be determining whether or not that is the case.”
Walker died from multiple gunshot wounds to the face, abdomen and upper legs, CNN affiliate WEWS reported, citing findings by its media partner, the Akron Beacon Journal.
The Journal, which was allowed to review an investigative worksheet at the medical examiner’s office, said it “indicated that Walker was observed laying on his back and was in handcuffs when a medical examiner investigator arrived at the shooting scene.”
Walker relative Robert Dejournett, who is a pastor at St. Ashworth Temple Church of God In Christ in Akron, told CNN’s Polo Sandoval the family wants Walker to be remembered as a fun-loving young man who was full of life.
“We’re God-fearing folk who believe in God and we want to exemplify that even in this process,” Dejournett said. “We don’t want any rioting or anything like that.”
Dejournett said the family hopes the shooting will lead to systematic change.
“We want to take that, and we want to use it for the benefit of systemic change,” Dejournett said. “We want to be treated like human beings, you know, Black men, young men, they’re afraid when it comes to police – that shouldn’t be,” he said.
Attorneys for Jayland Walker’s family held a news conference shortly after police released the footage and emphasized that while the family wants answers from police, they also want the public to “give peace, give dignity, and give justice a chance – for Jayland.”
“Each time I’ve watched the video, it’s gotten worse for me,” attorney Ken Abbarno said. “Every movement that I see, every shot that I heard, and every time that I see Jayland, lying on the ground, just gets more and more horrific.”
Abbarno said the video is “a lot more than just ‘tough to see.’ It’s something that should never, ever have to be seen.”
Bobby DiCello, another family lawyer, said Walker “had never broken the law a day in his life – no crimes of any kind.” DiCello said Walker’s behavior Monday “would be indicative of some distress, some fear, something that he was going through.”
Ahead of the release of the footage, Akron officials asked the community to be patient and allow the investigation to be carried out while protesting peacefully if they wished to demonstrate.
“I won’t mince words – the video you are about to watch is heartbreaking and is very tough to take in,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said in a news conference ahead of the release of the footage.
The mayor acknowledged the rights of Akron residents to protest. “But I hope the community can agree, that violence and destruction are not the answer,” he said, asking that demonstrations remain peaceful.
“Please be patient, and let the attorney general do their work,” he said.
City leaders underscored that footage was released under a new city ordinance that requires video footage documenting an active police officer’s use of force to be released within seven days of the incident.
Mylett said the city welcomes peaceful protests but is prepared if demonstrations turn violent.
“We have developed an operations plan to manage and to provide safe space in this city for people to protest,” Mylett said. “And in case that it turns to a situation where it’s no longer peaceful, we have an operations plan in place for that as well, and I’m not going to discuss any of the details about that.”
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