Donovan Lewis shooting: What we know about fatal police shooting

  • In US
  • 2022-09-01 16:46:27Z
  • By The Columbus Dispatch

A Columbus Division of Police case is making national headlines after one of its officers was involved in a shooting that resulted in the death of a 20-year-old man.

Around 2 a.m. Tuesday, multiple officers went to Donovan Lewis' apartment in the 3200 block of Sullivant Avenue on the city's Hilltop to arrest him on multiple warrants.

Body camera footage shows several officers at Lewis' door, knocking for eight to 10 minutes and identifying themselves as Columbus police. After minutes of knocking, two men then opened the door and were detained by police.

A Columbus K-9 unit then cleared the apartment, and the dog indicated there was someone in a bedroom. Ricky Anderson, an officer assigned to the K-9 unit, leashed the dog and then opened the door. A split second later, a gunshot was fired.

After Lewis was carried from the apartment, officers rendered medical aid by applying what appears to be a trauma bandage and performing CPR. Lewis was taken to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, where he died at 3:19 a.m.

The shooting of Lewis was the third shooting in eight days involving Columbus police. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating one of the shootings in which one person with a gun was wounded by an officer as he fled in one of the shootings. No one was hit in the third incident, so the Bureau declined to investigate and the city Division of Police will handle that investigation.

Here's what to know about Tuesday's shooting:

More:'Senseless': Family of Donovan Lewis, fatally shot by a Columbus police officer, speaks out

More:Columbus police release body camera footage of fatal police shooting in the Hilltop

Why were there several warrants out for Lewis?

Police obtained multiple warrants for Lewis, who was wanted on a felony charge of improper handling of a firearm, as well as a misdemeanor probation violation and misdemeanor charges filed Aug. 10 of domestic violence and assault, court records show.

What does the body camera footage reveal?

Aug 30, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Police body camera footage showing the fatal police shooting of 20-year-old Donovan Lewis.
Aug 30, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Police body camera footage showing the fatal police shooting of 20-year-old Donovan Lewis.  

Columbus police and city officials provided body camera footage during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Anderson, a 30-year veteran assigned to the K-9 unit, holds the off-and-on barking K-9 while opening a closet door while coming around the corner from a living room area.

"We're gonna send that dog in," one of the officers warns before Anderson gives a slight push to a bedroom door off the kitchen. The door squeaks slowly open and the light from the gun of another officer shines on Lewis as one of the officers yells, "Hands!"

In less than a second, the video shows Anderson reaching into the door opening and fires a gunshot at Lewis, who appears to have raised his head from lying on his left side on the bed and is leaning on his left arm when he is hit in the abdomen and he goes face down onto the bed.

An officer yells "Hands" repeatedly for several seconds before telling Lewis to "crawl out here" twice. But the wounded Lewis remains on the bed.

More than 20 seconds later, an officer says "I'm going in, cover me." Two officers go in and begin to tell Lewis at least twice to put his hands behind his back. One officer says, "I need cuffs. I'm out of cuffs."

An officer picks up Lewis' right arm and begins to fold it back to handcuff him, and Lewis lets out a moan as one of the officers says, "Put your hands behind your back, now."

A few moments later, an officer says: "Stop resisting."

Other video shows the wounded Lewis being carried out of the apartment with his hands cuffed behind his back.

Police Chief Elaine Bryant said it appeared Lewis had a vape pen or electronic cigarette in his hand before Anderson shot him. The device can be seen on the bed as officers handcuffed Lewis.

What is Donovan Lewis' family saying?

Lewis' family released a statement Wednesday about the shooting through their attorney, Rex Elliott, of the Columbus law firm Cooper and Elliott.

"In literally the blink of an eye, a Columbus Police Officer shot and killed Donovan Lewis, an unarmed young Black man who was alone in his bed in the middle of the night," Lewis' family said in the statement. "Frame by frame, the video reveals the truth - three white officers accompanied by an aggressive K9 dog shot an unarmed 20-year-old in cold blood as he sat up in his bed in compliance with police commands."

The statement said Lewis' family is grieving and asking for peaceful support.

"Rest assured, we will get justice for Donovan and do everything in our power to stop these senseless killings," the family said. "There cannot be one more young Black life taken this way."

What are Columbus officials, community leaders saying about the shooting?

Mayor Andrew Ginther said during the Tuesday news conference that the shooting "resulted in the tragic loss of life" and that "regardless of the circumstances, a mother has lost her son in the city of Columbus."

"Transparency, accountability, cooperation - these are our bedrock values," Ginther said. "And (they) will inform every step forward. We ask for your patience and grace as we uncover all the facts."

U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Columbus, said Wednesday that she was "horrified" to see another unarmed Black man killed by police in the city and gave her condolences to Lewis' family.

"Donovan Lewis was shot by the officer less than one second after his bedroom door was opened," she said. "It appears to be clear the officer involved did not take the necessary time to assess the situation before choosing to employ deadly force," she said.

Columbus Urban League President Stephanie Hightower said the shooting of Lewis showed the reasons why the community demanded a civilian review board and inspector general in 2020.

"Yesterday's (Tuesday's) shooting evokes painful, conflicting responses," Hightower said. "We understand that serving a felony warrant creates a highly volatile and dangerous situation. And yet, the body camera video is as gut-wrenching as is the fact that another Black man lost his life."

The NAACP Columbus chapter said it would "wait for the particulars" of the investigation into Lewis' shooting.

"We demand that BCI conduct a thorough, comprehensive and immediate investigation," the organization said in a statement. "These incidents leave behind grieving family members, unanswered questions from the community and a further divide between the citizens and the police department."

What happens next?

Bryant said the Ohio Bureau of Investigation is handling the investigation into the fatal shooting as is Columbus policy on any officer-involved shooting in the city in which someone is injured or killed.

"We're committed to full transparency to sharing as much as we can as quickly as we are able do so - and we're committed to holding officers accountable if there was any wrongdoing," Bryant said. "As the chief, it is my job to hold officers accountable, but it is also my job to offer them support and that I give that to them through the process."

On the community front, the Urban League will broadcast a program beginning at 10 a.m. on their Urban One radio station including community leaders and calls in from the public, the organization said.

Leaders involved include Ginther, Beatty and City Council President Shannon Hardin as well as religious leaders, violence prevention leaders and mental health professionals.

In addition, social media postings indicate there may be a series of demonstrations and/or marches this weekend over Lewis' death, including one late Friday afternoon outside Columbus Division of Police headquarters, Downtown.

Dispatch reporters Bethany Bruner, Cole Behrens and Jordan Laird contributed to this report.


This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: What to know about fatal Columbus police shooting of Donovan Lewis


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