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Man pleads guilty to shooting Willowick police officer

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Posted at 3:44 PM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 15:44:43-04

WILLOWICK, Ohio — A 60-year-old man who was involved in a shootout with a Willowick police officer in 2020 has pleaded guilty to multiple charges.

The defendant, Sam R. Stevens Jr., pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder, one count of resisting arrest, one count of improper handling of a gun in a motor vehicle and one count of failure to comply with police order, according to the Lake County Prosecutor's Office.

Stevens shot Willowick Patrolman Ben Bruno during a pursuit that turned into a shootout on Oct. 2, 2020.

On that day, officers received reports of an erratic driver. Once the vehicle was located, they attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the vehicle continued driving.

The motorist, Stevens, continued driving and struck another vehicle, causing it to overturn. The driver of that vehicle was not injured. Stevens continued driving but later stopped, grabbed a gun and fired it at the responding officers, police said.

Bruno, a 20-year member of the Willowick Police Department, was struck in the chest by Stevens’ gunfire but was wearing body armor.

Stevens will be sentenced on Aug. 25 in the Lake County Court of Common Pleas.

RELATED: Man indicted for October shootout with Willowick police officers

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