Police: Why did Middlefield suspect start firing?

3:57 PM, May 3, 2013   |    comments
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MIDDLEFIELD -- The video is unbelievable. The Geauga County Prosecutor has watched it over 20 times and it still gives him chills.

The officers did everything rightbut the big question is: Why did the suspect open fire the way he did?

There are new details on what started out as a traffic stop in Middlefield Village back on March 10.

Officers Brandon Savage and Erin Thomas pulled over a car driven by James Gilkerson for failing to stop at an intersection. Moments later, the officers were caught in a hail of gunfire from Gilkerson with an AK-47.

Related story: Middlefield: Dash cam shows wild shootout with police

It ended with the suspect dead and both officers injured.

Related story: Investigator: Middlefield police find arsenal, bomb manuals in suspect's car

Prosecutor Jim Flaiz has seen the video over 20 times and says the officers did everything right, from noticing the danger of the gun to fighting off the attack.

On Friday, police revealed the police car filled with bullets.

The report says the suspect fired 33 rounds and the officers fired back with 46. The holes in the cruiser windshield came from officer Savage's gun as he fired on the suspect.

And police say they found over 300 rounds in the suspect's car.   The question still unanswered is, why did Gilkerson start firing?  Was it suicide by cop?

The investigation is not ready to go there yet.

The investigation continues into the suspect and was he aiming for something even bigger?


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