EAST CLEVELAND — Thirteen-year-old Tamia Chappman was walking on the sidewalk with a group of friends on the way to the library when she was struck and killed by a vehicle involved in a police pursuit and crash that started on Cleveland’s West Side and ended in East Cleveland.
Since her death, questions have remained about the Cleveland Police Department's chase policy and details surrounding her death.
In new details released by East Cleveland police, there were about four to five children walking on the sidewalk on Friday when the car being pursued by police went up on the sidewalk and fatally hit Chappman ,
The chase started on Friday around 2:30 p.m. when a 38-year-old woman was approached by two men, outside a Target on West 117th Street. She told police one of the robbers had a gun, and demanded she hand over her vehicle.
Investigators reviewed surveillance video and found the robbers came out of a sedan parked near the victim’s car.
An off duty police officer witnessed the incident and followed the stolen car authorities said. The off-duty officer called police and said he was following the car eastbound on I-90.
Other police continued following the stolen Volvo until it exited the interstate at Eddy Road.
When police tried making a traffic stop, investigators say the driver took off toward East Cleveland.
During the chase as the vehicle approached Woodworth and Hayden avenues in East Cleveland, it reached speeds of up to 75 mph, according to a police report.
A second officer joined in pursuit of the vehicle as well, police said.
The pursuit ended at Lakefront and Euclid avenues in East Cleveland. Chappman, who was in the area walking to the library, was killed in the crash. A second child was injured, according to East Cleveland police. A 15-year-old boy was arrested and a gun was confiscated on the scene.
A community mourning
Chappman was a sixth grade student at Superior Elementary School. The East Cleveland community held a vigil on Sunday to remember Chappman, who was part of the Cleveland PAL mentoring program.
Superior Elementary School issued the following statement regarding the girl's death:
It is with our deepest regret to inform you that one of our students was killed this afternoon. Tamia Chappman was a 6th grade student that attended Superior Elementary School. Although today is the beginning of the winter break, The East Cleveland School District will offer counseling and support for students and staff on Monday at Superior Elementary School.
The 15-year-old has been charged on three counts including murder, aggravated robbery and robbery. All three charges include firearm specifications. The teen's next court date has yet to be scheduled.