East Cleveland, Ohio
November 29, 2012
Agencies: Cleveland Division of Police Ohio
Cause of death: Shooting
Last updated: about 4 years ago
Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were in a car together. Both were homeless and had met at a shelter where they were receiving free meals. People who knew them told investigators they were most likely out looking to buy drugs. A plainclothes police officer spotted Russell's 1979 light blue Chevy Malibu by an area known as "the wall" on Lakeside Avenue known for drug deals. Shortly before 10:30 p.m. the officer called in the car's license plate. The plates came back clean, but the officer tried to pull Russell over for a turn signal violation. Russell instead sped away, and the police officer was unable to catch up. The chase ended when Russell turned into Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland. Police cars surrounded the Malibu. Several police officers reported seeing a gun in the car, and believed that Russell was trying to run them over. One officer began to shoot, and others opened fire. Many officers believed the suspects were firing out of the vehicle, but later investigations found no evidence of a weapon in the car. In the end, 13 police officers shot 137 bullets at Russell and Williams. Russell was hit 23 times, and Williams was hit 24 times. Both were declared dead by 11:24 p.m.
Cleveland police Officer Michael Brelo has been found not guilty in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire after a high-speed chase. The judge's verdict Saturday, May 23, 2015 for Brelo comes after a four-week trial on two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams on Nov. 29, 2012.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty agreed on June 29, 2015 to let East Cleveland's city prosecutor try five Cleveland police supervisors in Municipal Court on charges stemming from this case. On July 2, 2015, East Cleveland filed charges against the officers.