08/31/2006

Cleveland police officer killed while serving warrant

Officer Down: Jonathan Schroeder - [Cleveland, Ohio]


ODMP

Biographical Info

Age: 37

Additional Info: Officer Jonathan Schroeder had served with the Cleveland Police Department for 10 years. He is survived by his wife and son.

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Schroeder was shot and killed while serving a warrant.

Date of Incident: August 30, 2006

 


Cleveland police officer killed while serving warrant

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND- A veteran police officer trying to arrest a rape suspect was killed early Thursday when a bullet struck him in a small area under his arm not protected by his bulletproof vest, police officials said.

Detective Jonathan James Schroeder, 37, a 10-year veteran of the city's force, was pronounced dead at MetroHealth Medical Center, said Martin Flask, the city's safety director.

Schroeder died of a single gunshot wound to his upper left chest area, according to Cuyahoga County Coroner Elizabeth Balraj, who ruled the death a homicide.

Schroeder is the fourth Cleveland police officer since 1996 to be killed in the line of duty. The previous one was patrolman Wayne Leon in June 2000.

"These incidents happen. They don't become easier. Each one becomes more difficult," Flask said.

He and Mayor Frank Jackson consoled members of Schroeder's family at the hospital early Thursday, Flask said. He said Schroeder was father of a 10-month-old child.

Jackson left the hospital without comment. Many Cleveland police officers also visited the hospital. Several shed tears and others hugged.

Flask and police Commander Ed Tomba said Schroeder was a distinguished and well regarded detective who never shied away from a tough assignment.

Schroeder had volunteered to be among the 12 law enforcement officers, from both the Cleveland force and the Cuyahoga County sheriff's department, to serve an arrest warrant on Wilson Santiago, 37. Tomba said a team of officers serving the warrant were aware that Santiago has an extensive criminal record.

The officers surrounded a two-story house on a corner lot on Cleveland's west side at about midnight as Schroeder and his supervisor went to the wooden, windowless front door. Tomba said the door was opened from inside and quickly slammed shut just before a bullet came through the door, striking Schroeder.

Tomba said officers' bulletproof vests have protective front and back panels that attach on the sides of a wearer, and the bullet entered through a tiny opening in Schroeder's vest.

"Maybe an inch either way, and perhaps we wouldn't be here talking about this," Tomba said.

Tomba said the officers returned fire, and Santiago, who was not injured, surrendered and was arrested. Santiago was being held in jail Thursday as a suspect in the shooting. Tomba said Santiago was the only person in the house at the time of the confrontation and police recovered a handgun in the home.

On Aug. 25, officers investigated a rape that occurred in the same area, a few streets away, and police had obtained an arrest warrant for Santiago charging him with aggravated burglary and rape.

Tomba said all the officers serving the warrant were wearing vests and it was clear they were police.

"This is one of the dangers of law enforcement serving these high risk warrants. Unfortunately the suspect had a weapon and he fired through the door, twice," he said.

Councilman Jay Westbrook, who represents the area of Cleveland, said he personally knew Schroeder, a Kent State University graduate, and described him as "always about the mission of serving the community.

"He never made excuses. He took assignments. He took his mission to heart and he carried it out in a very caring way."

Westbrook said there are many positives about the neighborhood, including active and involved residents, merchants and churches.

"This community is here to stay, and it's not being given over to criminals and criminal activity," Westbrook said.

Associated PressCopyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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