Police in Toledo, Ohio, have released bodycam video showing the hellish scene of a block party shootout on July 4 in which a 17-year-old boy was killed.
According to WTOL-TV, police said they received a call at 12:24 a.m. for a male shooting a gun in the air — as well as a massive fight involving 300 people.
Toledo Police Chief George Kral announced July 5 that 12 people had been shot at the party.
Stephon Johnson died after being airlifted to a hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The teenager is the lone death from the incident so far.
Several other minors and young adults were wounded. One of them is 11, another is 15, two are 16, two are 17, one is 18 and four are 19.
Police say all should be survive, although The Associated Press reported a 51-year old and a 19-year-old were in critical condition as of Friday.
On Thursday, police released bodycam footage of the carnage.
As police pulled up to the scene, gunfire could be heard outside of the car.
“Get out,” one of the officers can be heard saying. The two police officers left the vehicle and ran toward the scene as scores of people were running away.
“Go! Go! Find cover! Move! Move!” the officer with the bodycam said.
“Police! Police!” someone yelled. Police quickly found an individual of interest.
“Show your hands! Don’t f***ing move! Don’t f***ing move!” the officer commanded.
All the while, shots could still be heard ringing out, along with other sirens. Officers commanded the people at the party to stay down.
“We’ve got multiple shooters everywhere,” the other officer was heard saying on the radio in a desperate call for backup. A truck drove away from the scene toward the end of the three-and-a-half-minute clip, although it’s unclear whether shooters were in the vehicle.
Police said those at the party weren’t cooperating with investigators, which Kral said was frustrating; police haven’t even determined a motive for the shooting.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a $5,000 reward for any information, WTOL reported. Stephon Johnson’s father is also asking anyone with knowledge of what happened to come forward.
“I know how the neighborhoods work so I’m not expecting anybody to say anything, but it would be amazing and it would really lift weight off us if somebody said something because I know somebody knows something,” Jorrel Johnson said, according to WTOL. “The streets talk.”
“He loved to play sports. He loved to make people laugh. He loved to put smiles on people,” Johnson said of his son.
“He was my son and I don’t mean as a child, I mean as the biggest star in my sky. He just wanted to be the best and he was destined for greatness and he didn’t even get to graduate.”
It’s a nightmare scenario, although one the officers seem to have handled well. Yes, one young man died, but given the number of shots fired — roughly 80 rounds from multiple weapons — that’s sadly better than other potential outcomes, given the number of shots and the size of the block party.
“They jumped into action right away,” Kral said of the officers. “They were in the hot zone. So I want to say thank you to them.”
They were running toward a mass shooting as others were running away — and they likely saved lives. Kudos to them.
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