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Family of Cleveland man shot by DEA agent disagree with authorities' narrative of case

Family of Cleveland man shot by DEA agent disagree with authorities' narrative of case
Posted at 4:51 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 19:18:29-04

CLEVELAND — There are still many unanswered questions about what exactly led to an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent shooting a 20-year-old man in Cleveland Wednesday.

DEA Special Agent In Charge Keith Martin said the man was shot after he approached the agent while brandishing a weapon, but the man’s family said that’s just not true.

News 5 spoke to Theodore Johnson, the uncle of the man who was shot by the DEA agent. Officials have still not identified the man, but Johnson said it's his nephew, Trayvon Johnson.

Johnson said he saw the incident unfold with his very own eyes, and his version of events differs drastically from what authorities said happened.

“That man shouldn’t have shot him down like a dog. He shouldn't have done that,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the last 24 hours have been hectic, frustrating, and heart-wrenching for him and his family.

“Right now, we are still just getting our heads and stuff together,” Johnson said.

Wednesday afternoon, police swarmed Johnson’s neighborhood on E. 82nd Street and Decker Avenue after the shooting.

According to Martin, the agent was in his car working on an ongoing operation in the area.

“Two subjects approached one of the DEA agents brandishing a weapon at which time the agent felt threatened and there was gunfire exchanged. The subject was hit. The agent was not struck by any gunfire,” Martin said.

It’s still unclear if either of the people who officials say approached the agent’s vehicle ever fired a weapon.

Johnson disagrees with law enforcement’s version of the story.

He said Trayvon got a ride to his house from the store, and he was watching from a second-story window as the car pulled up and Trayvon got out to come inside.

“My nephew got out of the car, soon as he got out the car, this man, he got out that car. He didn't say who he was or nothing. He just shot bow, bow, bow, shot three times and shot my nephew in the stomach,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Trayvon didn’t approach the agent’s car, and that contrary to what police said, Trayvon was alone and there wasn’t a second person in the area.

“It wasn’t no two people, it was just him, and he was not trying to go near that car. He was nowhere near it, he was coming in the house, so they just made that charge up in order to protect their man,” Johnson said.

Cleveland Police are handling the investigation, and yesterday Chief Calvin Williams said they're working to get to the bottom of the case.

“We're investigating this and we're getting all the evidence possible to piece together exactly what happened, because nobody knows exactly what happened except the three or four people involved in it,” Williams said.

But Johnson said his family is still reeling from what they believe is dishonesty from law enforcement.

“That man got on TV yesterday and lied. He straight up lied just to protect his people,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Trayvon is doing well after undergoing surgery, and that his family is looking into hiring lawyers and pursuing legal action.

News 5 reached out to Cleveland Police for an update on this case, but we haven’t heard back yet.

RELATED STORY: Suspect shot during DEA enforcement operation in Cleveland

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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