Sunday, November 21, 2010


Elyria – Just hours after Officers in Elyria finished their Pizza Perp Operation they were right back on the hunt for a bad guy with a gun in downtown Elyria.

Elyria Police Officer Joe Figula Jr. was on patrol on Broad Street in downtown Elyria around 2 a.m. Sunday morning when he heard a single gunshot ring out from Kerstetter Way just off of Broad Street. Figula slowly moved up and looked down the street and saw a black male fire two more shots and then run west through the ally that runs along the railroad tracks. Figula alerted other Officers and responded to the area of McDonalds to find the suspect. As he pulled into the parking lot the man ran through the lot and across the street towards First Merit Bank.

Officers quickly began setting up a perimeter around the area of the bank. Figula spotted a 4 door Ford Focus stopped on Court Street by the bank with three males standing outside of it and asked if they had seen anyone run out from behind the bank. The males advised no and told him that someone had just shot at their car.

Officers then began closing in behind the bank and found the suspect hiding behind a large electrical box behind the building.

Officers then spread out and began retracing the steps of the suspect in search of the gun after they couldn’t find it on the suspect. Officers climbed up on air conditioning units, vehicles and walked along the railroad tracks during the search. Elyria Firefighters responded to the ally with ladders to search rooftops as well.

During a secondary search of the ally Officer Figula found the gun behind Moss’ Spaghetti House.

The three victims in the Ford Focus were Bruce Freeman and Thomas Stroup of Vermilion and Steven Solomon of Elyria. Freeman said they had stopped at Vic’s that evening because his cousin works there. After a couple hours of dancing Stroup said they were heading home. “We were on Broad Street heading past the camera store and as we passed the road (Kerstetter Way) we heard a gunshot and then the window blows in on us.” Freeman was driving and Stroup was in the passenger seat were both covered in glass from the shattered window.

Solomon said they turned onto Court Street and stopped the car and got out. “We were all shaken up of course; Thomas had to lean against the car because his legs were giving out on him. I mean that bullet just missed him and it was there lying on the dashboard of the car now.”

The three stood by their car and watched Officers as they searched for the suspect. “When we found out that they caught the guy we were so happy” said Solomon. “It was just a scary situation and glad the cops found him and the gun.”

The suspect was identified as 24 year old Akeem L. Stafford of Lorain. Stafford was charged with the following:
3 counts of Felonious Assault
Having Weapons Under Disability
Tampering with Evidence
Discharging a Firearm within the City
Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Receiving Stolen Property
Obstructing Official Business
Resisting Arrest



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