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Suspected shoplifter shot by Macedonia officer during struggle, police say; shoppers rushed to back of store

Incident took place at 500 East Aurora Road at the Burlington Coat Factory
Posted at 6:54 AM, Jan 23, 2023

MACEDONIA, Ohio — A person suspected of shoplifting was shot by a Macedonia Police officer during a struggle inside the Burlington Coat Factory Sunday night, according to officials, but many questions are still unanswered.

On Sunday evening, Macedonia Police dispatch received a report of a theft from the business located off of State Route 82, according to a news release from Macedonia Police.

Upon arriving at the scene, officers located and made contact with the person suspected of shoplifting, the release states. A struggle ensued, “resulting in one of the officers discharging their firearm,” police officials stated. One individual was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

News 5 spoke with a Walton Hills mother who heard a gunshot and witnessed the commotion while shopping with her teenage daughters at the Burlington store late Sunday afternoon.

Dawn Blackman and her 14-year-old and 16-year-old children were rushed into a back room with several other customers and employees, as the incident played out near the front of the store.

"It was pretty scary standing back there and not knowing what was going on. It is a huge relief that none of the customers were hurt and everybody was pretty safe," Blackman said.

Shoppers said what police later confirmed — this all started after a person was allegedly caught stealing items from the store.

They say police approached the suspect and there was some sort of altercation.

"She said she overheard the police asking a gentleman, did he have a car outside and to unzip his coat so they could see what was inside. Apparently, I guess he unzipped his coat and he had items from the store in it," Blackman said.

The shoppers heard the commotion and a single gunshot followed, as they were rushed to the back of the store.

Once they were told they could safely exit the property, Blackman says she spotted blood near the entrance of Burlington and a knife nearby.

Neither Macedonia Police nor BCI confirmed to News 5 that the individual who was shot had a weapon.

"It was really scary. I mean, we didn't know what was going on because I honestly, I didn't see police until we had gotten to the back of the store. If it weren't for my daughter saying, Mommy, mommy, you know, they shot their shots. Police, you know. But like I said, I didn't believe her at first because not a lot of people were running from the gunshots," Blackman said.

Following standard protocol, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office were contacted, and BCI responded to the scene, the release states.

The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave, per city policy.

BCI confirmed they were requested to investigate the incident, and that no officers were injured. The BCI official said it is their understanding that the person who was shot has been treated and released from the hospital.