By OJN Staff Ohio Journal-News
“Running towards the gunfire, officers spotted a lone gunman actively firing shots in the first-floor lobby of the building,” said Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac during a news conference Friday, one day after a deadly shooting on Fountain Square.
And what came next he and Mayor John Cranley described as “heroism.” The two praised the life-saving actions of four officers during Thursday’s active shooter situation inside the Fifth Third Bank Center lobby.
The four officers are identifed as:
Officer Jennifer Chilton, 2008 (she is the second body camera) Officer Antonio Etter, 2002, first officer on the scene, working off-duty nearby at construction area Officer Eric Kaminsky, 1997 Police Specialist Greg Toyeas, 1990, SWAT Tactical Coordinator Unit
Isaac said another first responding officer working on the perimeter of the scene was spending his last day on the job before retirement when the shots rang out.
“As officers tactially approached the building, multiple gunshots rang out, which enabled the officers to pinpoint the shooter’s location,” Isaac said. “Four of the responding officers were able to engage the gunman, shooting him through the plate glass window, causing him to fall to the floor.”
In two separate body camera videos released today, you can see and hear the brave officers as they approach the building and gunfire, and engage Perez.
Between the four officers, Isaac said they fired 11 rounds, 8 from their 9mm sidearms, 2 from a shotgun, and 1 from a rifle.
It’s not known which officer or officers struck Perez, that will come from the coroner’s office, said Isaac.
The time from the first shot fired by Perez until the rampage came to an end was 4 minutes and 28 seconds, according to Isaac. He said the officer’s response time was 3.5 minutes.
Ironically, the officers in the department had just completed yearly active shooter training.
“We do some live scenario-based training regarding active shooters. As you can see our officers responded to that training and performed very well, I couldn’t be prouder of them,” Isaac said.
“They did what they had to do, they were very resolved that they were there to save lives and they were committed to do that. As a police chief, as fellow poice officer as a citizen of this city I couldn’t be prouder of them,” continued Isaac.
He has spoken personally with three of the four officers and said they are doing as well as can be expected.
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley also spoke about the officer’s actions.
“The heroism of these officers is truly remarkable. You can see in the video…the guy shooting at the cops, and them not being afraid and engaging to end it.”
“With hundreds of rounds of ammo, if he’d gotten on the elevator, if he’d gotten to another floor, many many more people would have been killed,” said Cranley.
He commended the compassion of the 9-1-1 dispatchers too.
“This was a team effort to end the violence as soon as possible, to end the threat and to save lives.” said Cranley.
He then spoke about a receptionist whom he said could be seen in body camera video sheltering in place literally in the middle of gunfire.
“You see her emerge in one of the body cameras, 30-40 seconds after the shooting stopped. The fear you see in her face was hard to forget, followed by a look of gratitude that the calvary had arrived. I don’t know exactly what the officer said to her, but essentially, ‘it’s over, you’re OK now because you’re with us’,” said Cranley.
“The police saved lives and we owe them all a huge debt of gratitude for what happened. It was horrible enough, but it would have been a lot worse if the officers hadn’t rushed in when they did,” added Cranley.
“We need to pray for peace and we also need to take the actions to prevent crazy people from getting guns,” said Cranley in his final statement.