SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – An investigation is underway on the incident involving a shooting victim that died after being hit by a Springfield Police cruiser.
The Springfield Police Division said that Eric Eugene Cole was involved in a shooting incident around 11:22 p.m. on June 13. Officers were sent to a residence at South Center Boulevard after calls came in reporting gunshots.
The first police cruiser to arrive on the scene, driven by Officer Amanda Rosales, struck Cole, who was lying in the street suffering from a gunshot wound to the arm. Cole was taken to the Springfield Regional Medical Center, later being flown via CareFlight to Miami Valley Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf said during a press conference Wednesday morning that an investigation is being conducted by Ohio State Highway Patrol on the incident involving Cole being struck. Springfield Police are investigating the shooting.
Chief Graf said, “This was an accident. It doesn’t mean it’s okay. It was an accident. This was not an intentional act on the part of the officer. I’m sure of that.”
Denise Williams of the Springfield Chapter of the NAACP said, “Our hearts are heavy. We will be staying engaged in this situation. We will be opening up an investigation.”
Graf stressed Cole being run over was an accident and that the officer who hit Cole did not see him in the street and explained Rosales was looking at house numbers trying to locate Cole. Chief Graf expressed his condolences to Cole’s family and “profound regrets” regarding his death.
“There is nothing that would indicate that this was an intentional act on the part of the officer,” said Graf. Rosales has been placed on administrative leave. Graf said police are waiting for the coroner’s official report on Cole’s death.
“What I would ask for, because we know we are living in trying times, is for patience to allow us to work through this process and vigilance,” said Graf.