SOLON -- The Toledo-area man killed by a Solon police officer in an exchange of gunfire on St. Patrick's Day came out of his car with weapon in hand, shooting.
The incident is described at length in the Prosecutor's Summary released May 31 by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which finds no evidence to contradict the contentions of the officer who returned fire that left Kevin Bailey, 22, collapsed on the hood of his cruiser.
“I don’t think there was ever any question that the actions taken by the Solon Police on that night were unfortunate but necessary and completely driven by Mr. Bailey’s unprovoked choice to shoot,” Solon Police Chief Christopher Viland said. “We were confident that an objective review would reach the same conclusions that we have internally, that our officers responded in a competent and professional manner to an unthinkable attack on a Sunday evening, neutralizing an armed threat by someone actively trying to take their lives, and immediately rendering first aid upon the incident’s conclusion.”
The BCI report found Bailey opened fire with four shots through the cruiser windshield of Patrolman Steven Davis, who returned seven shots through the windshield, striking Bailey four times.
Davis, a five-year veteran of the Solon Police Department, returned fire as he was struck by Bailey's bullets, one to the chest that was shielded by body armor and another to his left arm, as well as glass fragments that ricocheted.
Bailey also fired three shots at the cruiser of Patrolman Nicholas Kline, who was called in for backup after Davis made an initial traffic stop of Bailey's car on Bainbridge Road near Sharondale Drive about 9:45 p.m. March 17.
At the time, Davis "stated he could detect the odor of marijuana emanating from Bailey's vehicle," and also noticed "random bags" inside the car.
Bailey said he was lost and was trying to find his cousin's home in Bedford, after which he planned to return to Toledo.
Davis told Bailey he was heading the wrong way and would give him directions at the conclusion of the traffic stop.
When asked if he had any marijuana in the vehicle, Bailey responded that "he doesn't smoke weed," which Davis took as an evasive answer.
"Based on the suspicious circumstances of Bailey's travel, his suspicious answers, the odor in the vehicle and his visual observations, Davis felt that Bailey was potentially transporting illegal drugs," the BCI report states.
But when Kline and Davis asked Bailey to step out of the car, intending to search it for drugs, he rolled up his window and started the car.
"Davis ordered Bailey, 'Don't do it, don't do it' -- correctly believing he was about to flee," Ohio BCI Special Agent Supervisor Mark Kollar stated.
Davis and Kline ran back to their cruisers, and Bailey attempted to turn in the roadway, back toward SOM-Center Road, but was inadvertently blocked by an approaching motorist, as well Davis.
"A very brief pursuit ensued (eastbound on Bainbridge Road)," the BCI report states, adding that Bailey apparently skipped a curb while trying to turn left (north) onto Sunnywood Drive, deflating a tire and stopping on the treelawn.
And that's when Bailey got out of his car shooting. The BCI summary contains dash cam footage, as well as photos of the vehicles after the gunfire, Davis' bullet proof vest, and his actual wounds.
As Bailey turned his attention -- and gun -- to Kline, "Davis returned fire through his own windshield while still seated, appearing to strike Bailey in the head and right shoulder area.
"Upon being struck in the head, Bailey collapsed onto the hood of the cruiser," the BCI report continues. "Kline was not in a position to return fire and therefore did not discharge his weapon."
In all, the gunfire exchange lasted less than seven seconds, with 14 bullet casings recovered at the scene, eight from Bailey's Smith & Wesson, and six from Davis duty weapon.
"The serial number on the weapon used by Bailey was obliterated," Kollar stated, adding that a subsequent test-firing did not reveal any ballistic links to other crimes.
"Due to tattoos on Bailey and previous encounters with the Toledo Police Department, there is some evidence to suggest possible criminal gang involvement, though not verified," Kollar added.
The BCI findings were forwarded in mid-May to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty who on May 24 announced he would not take the case to a grand jury.
"All indications are that Davis was struck by bullets that were fired by Bailey, both in the left arm and in the chest (ballistic vest) prior to returning fire," the BCI conclusion states.
Davis, who is a member of an area SWAT team and had current qualification for his duty weapon, was scheduled to return to full active duty by June after coming back for light-duty assignment in mid-May
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