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Officer back home, suspect in stable condition following weekend shootout in Willowick

Willowick shootout
Posted at 3:09 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 15:09:46-04

WILLOWICK, Ohio — The man who fired shots at police officers during a pursuit on Friday is in critical, but stable, condition after police returned fire and the officer who was struck in his body armor is back home, according to the Willowick Police Department.

On Friday around 5:39 p.m., police received reports of an erratic driver and after observing the vehicles, officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop but the vehicle continued driving.

The erratic driver continued through the intersection of Bayridge Boulevard and Willowick Drive and struck another vehicle, causing it to overturn. The driver of the vehicle that was overturned was not injured, according to police.

Police said the erratic driver reached speeds of up to 75 mph before stopping, grabbing a gun and firing it at the responding officers, who were issuing commands the driver was failing to follow, police said.

The officers, Patrolman Ben Bruno, a 20-year member of the Willowick Police Department, and Patrolman Mark Guerrieri, an 18-year member of the department, returned fire and struck the driver, according to police.

Bruno was struck in the chest by the driver’s gunfire but was wearing body armor, police said.

After he was deemed no longer a threat to officers, Patrolman Jacob Cook used a tourniquet and rendered aid to the driver before being transported to a nearby hospital where he remains in critical, but stable, condition, according to police.

Bruno was taken to Hillcrest Hospital for evaluation after the shooting but is now home, police said.

Both Bruno and Guerrieri are on paid administrative leave, which is the department’s protocol.

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Crime Scene and Special Investigations units are investigating the incident, which could take up to 60 days, police said.

RELATED: Willowick PD: Erratic driver shoots officer, driver hospitalized after police return fire