Investigator: Chase supervisor mistook pizza for a gun

5:51 PM, May 24, 2013   |    comments
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  • Photo from the night of the police-involved shooting in which two people were killed.
    

CLEVELAND -- A Cleveland police sergeant, under investigation for her role in a deadly November high-speed chase, told state investigators she thought a fleeing suspect was reaching for a gun when it turned out to be pizza.

Sergeant Patricia Coleman was, at times, the lead car giving chase to a vehicle with fleeing suspects Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

Coleman told investigators from the Ohio Attorney General's office that she saw Russell smoking a cigarette as he led police on a 22-minute chase that reached speeds of 125 miles per hour.

"He's casually smoking a cigarette and I was like, 'ahh, are you kidding me?'" she said. 

The sergeant admitted she did not hear gunshots during the chase, but thought she and her partner were going to be killed when the chase ended in gunfire. 

13 officers fired 137 bullets at the 2 suspects, killing them.

She fought back tears as she recalled the frightening moments.

Coleman told investigators she has no regrets for any of the actions she took that night. She said all this could have been avoided if the suspects pulled over and stopped their vehicle.

Coleman is among six supervisors whose disciplinary hearings are before Cleveland Safety Director Martin Flask. Flask has the power to issue tougher sanctions than Police Chief Michael McGrath.

Flask says he'll make a decison on the supervisors likely in June. 

WKYC-TV

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