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'The nicest person I ever met': Friends pay tribute to fallen Cleveland police officer Shane Bartek

From young kids to those well into adulthood, Bartek left a positive impression on those he crossed paths with.

CLEVELAND — Friends are remembering the life of Cleveland police officer Shane Bartek, who was killed while off-duty in an apartment complex on New Year's Eve. 

The 25-year-old Bartek was a native to Northeast Ohio. He graduated from Berea-Midpark High School back in 2015, then went on to study criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati.

No matter who we spoke to, the responses were generally the same. Officer Bartek was described as a genuine friend to everyone, even if he just met you. He always found a way to make people happy. And above all, he was selfless and always wanted to make sure everyone else was alright.

All of those things make up ideal qualities that you would want in a police officer. 

In fact, one friend told 3News' Brandon Simmons that it was Bartek's dream to become a Cleveland police officer. He did exactly that the same year he graduated from Cincinnati in 2019. 

Police say the shooting that took Bartek's life happened in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 4300 block of Rocky River Drive around 6 p.m. on Dec. 31. Bartek was off-duty at the time. He was later pronounced dead at Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital. 

In its report released on Tuesday, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office stated that Bartek's death was a homicide due to a gunshot wound of the chest with vascular, visceral, and skeletal injuries.

From young kids to those well into adulthood, Bartek left a positive impression on those he crossed paths with.

“It’s not just one post that says he was a good guy. Every single post says the same thing. Everyone says how caring and how genuine he was. And I think that shows a lot that made such an impact on that many people,” said Sara Shelton, a college friend.

“I can’t put into words how great of a person he is. He’s the nicest person I ever met in my entire life,” said Brigid McKee, another friend from college. “He never made things about him. It was always about everyone else.”

One person also pointed out that they’re not surprised to hear that Bartek got into a fight with the person who ended up taking his life, because they know he’s the kind of person who wanted to try to make sure they wouldn’t be able to harm someone else in the future.

It’s seems that’s the way he was raised. Many friends spoke highly of the relationship Bartek had with his father Ron, who passed away in 2018, adding that the only good news out of this is that they’re together again in heaven.

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