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3News Investigates: 8 Akron police officers fired 90-plus shots during confrontation with fleeing motorist

Jayland Walker suffered more than 60 wounds, sources and autopsy records show

AKRON, Ohio — Autopsy records confirm that an unarmed Akron man was struck dozens of times by a barrage of more than 90 shots fired by police officers following a chase early Monday morning.

The volume of gunfire and extensive wounds have caused police and city officials to prepare for potential public backlash. The response is expected to only intensify when Akron Police release body camera footage in the coming days.

“Use of force cases are always ugly. This case is ugly times 10,” a police official familiar with the shooting told 3News Investigates. The official is not authorized to speak publicly about the shooting.

Using a public records law that provides access to autopsy documents, 3News Investigates viewed photos of Jayland Walker’s bullet-riddled body, along with the dozens of bullet fragments removed during the autopsy.

The final autopsy report has not yet been put in writing, Summit County Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Kohler said. That report is expected to be released this week.

Walker’s death has been ruled a homicide, Kohler’s office said Wednesday.

However, the photos provided Wednesday confirm what police sources had previously told 3News Investigates: Eight officers fired more than 90 shots, causing more than 60 wounds to Walker’s body.

3News Investigates examined autopsy records, including about 150 photos of Walker’s wounds and about 60 photos of bullet fragments. A large majority of the wounds were to the front of Walker’s body. Wounds could be seen from his face down to his lower legs.

Some wounds were depicted on his back, but it is unclear if the marks are entrance or exit wounds.

Akron police say they attempted to stop Walker’s car just after midnight Monday for a traffic infraction and equipment issue. Walker instead led the officers on a high-speed chase down East Tallmadge Avenue toward State Route 8.

At some point, police say Walker fired a gun. Sources tell 3News Investigates that one casing was found in Walker’s car and a second was found on the roadway near Route 8.

The 4 1/2-minute chase took police south on Route 8 with speeds reaching about 80 mph at times, police said. Walker, 25, eventually jumped out of the car on Wilbeth Road near the Bridgestone Tire offices.

Police say they first deployed their tasers, but ultimately opened fire after they said Walker made motions that caused them to fear bodily harm. Eight officers unleashed a hail of gunfire that was captured on body cameras worn by the officers.

Sources say some of the last shots were fired while Walker’s body was on the pavement. Walker was on the ground dead when medical help arrived. Autopsy records show he was handcuffed after the shooting. He was not armed at the time he was shot, sources said.

A gun, however, was recovered inside Walker’s car, the same sources confirmed.

It is unclear why Walker fled police. He has no past criminal records aside from a speeding ticket.

The videos are expected to be released in the coming days. Police Chief Steven Mylett said he wants to meet with the Walker family and allow them to view the video before it is released to the public.

“The public is going to have legitimate questions and I’ve got questions,” Mylett said Wednesday.

Seven of the eight officers are white. Walker is Black.

Mylett has asked the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to lead the review of the officers’ conduct. It is the first time APD has asked for an outside agency to investigate an officer’s use of deadly force.

Walker’s family has yet to speak publicly about the shooting.

Mylett said the department is planning for a public response to the shooting. He said he hopes the public is patient.

“The public is going to see officers discharging their firearms and I know that is going to prompt a whole lot of questions,” Mylett said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mylett and Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan released a joint statement about the shooting:

"We know that no police officer ever wants to discharge their service weapon in the line of duty. And anytime they must, it's a dark day for our city, for the families of those involved, as well as for the officers. Tragically, we are once again faced with a young man, with his life before him, gone too soon. Every single life is precious, and the loss of any life is absolutely devastating to our entire community. Our prayers are with Jayland Walker’s loved ones, and we offer our sincere condolences to all those who knew him. Our thoughts are also with our Akron police officers and their families. 

"We want to reassure our citizens that more information will be coming in the following days, including the body-worn camera footage that recorded this incident. We are keeping our promise to the community, understanding that there can be no trust without transparency and follow-through on commitment. 

"We have every confidence in the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation to conduct a thorough, fair, and honest investigation. We will cooperate fully with that investigation and have made it a top priority for our staffs. As a city, we are committed to this process and trust that it will yield a fuller understanding of this incident."

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