CLEVELAND — Bail enforcement agents were looking for a wanted fugitive at a posh apartment in the Flats East Bank on Saturday afternoon when a different man, 24-year-old Derrol McCladdie, apparently fell from the eighth floor apartment and later died, according to a Cleveland police report. While processing the scene after the fatal incident, the police department’s SWAT team entered the apartment and later found ‘large amount of drugs’ and weapons, prompting a response from the fire department’s HAZMAT unit.
CPD’s homicide unit continues to investigate Saturday’s incident, which brought a lively Saturday afternoon and evening on Labor Day weekend to a standstill. The medical examiner’s office has yet released the cause or manner of McCladdie’s death.
“I’m always over here and usually it’s super relaxed, nothing like this,” said Aaron Wendel on Saturday afternoon.
According to the police report, officers were met by four bail enforcement agents from City Bonds who were actively serving an arrest warrant for Antonio Howard, who apparently lived in the eighth floor apartment. Howard has multiple warrants for his arrest after failing to show up to court for a domestic violence charge. Howard also has three prior convictions for domestic violence, in addition to a slew of drug possession and trafficking charges over the past decade, according to court records.
The police report states the bail enforcement agents knocked on the apartment door when they noticed a man peering through the peep hole in the door. The man then backed away and retreated into the apartment, the report states. When one of the bail enforcement agents returned outside to retrieve a battering ram in order to enter the apartment, the agent noticed a large crowd of people huddled around someone who had fallen from the apartment balcony. The man was later identified by family members as McCladdie. He was pronounced dead at Metro Hospital less than an hour later.
The bail enforcement agents told responding officers that no one else had entered or exited the apartment while they waited for CPD’s SWAT unit to arrive. When the SWAT team made entry, the apartment was empty, according to the report.
“Members of SWAT then arrived, made entry into the apartment, and discovered no other parties were inside. SWAT observed a drug lab inside the apartment,” the police report stated.
A Cleveland police spokesman said there were a ‘large amount’ of narcotics and weapons inside the apartment. The spokesman did not specify the estimated quantity of narcotics. Because of the potentially hazardous nature of the narcotics, believed by some to possibly be fentanyl, police and fire personnel cordoned off the building and halted traffic in the Flats East Bank for several hours Saturday night. Officers and fire personnel later seized the narcotics and ensured the area was safe.
“We come here to drink and eat all the time. This was not something we expected to find happening,” said Katrina Marcotte. “It was definitely different and chaotic.”
The bail enforcement agents that knocked on the apartment door either declined to comment or were unavailable.