SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) — Springfield city officials gathered Wednesday for a news conference about the tragic events that transpired Sunday, June 13. That night, around 11:30 p.m., 42-year-old Eric Cole was shot and later run over by a responding police cruiser.
Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf said his department started receiving calls about a shooting on West Liberty Avenue around 11:15 p.m. — by 11:22 p.m. they received calls that Cole was shot around South Center Boulevard.
Cole then called police to tell them he’d been shot and to ask for help. Graf said at that point there was some confusion about the location of the victim.
Officer Amanda Rosalas was dispatched to find and help Cole, but Graf said she was looking at house numbers to determine her whereabouts. This is when she ran over Cole. Rosalas and another officer immediately got out to render aid. Cole was then taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead around midnight.
The police chief said the dash camera footage does not accurately depict what the officer was seeing at the time. Rosalas, who worked for the department for two years, is now on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
Cole’s family attended Wednesday’s news conference. Cole’s mother, Regina Wilson, said she still has more questions than answers.
“He said, ‘Your son has just been shot,’ never once was I told that an officer ran over my son. Why was I not told at the scene that she ran over my son?'” said Wilson.
Graf said the cruiser accident was not mentioned in the report of the police shooting because they are being investigated as two separate incidents.
“If we made mistakes here, that’s my responsibility,” said Graf addressing Wilson. “And I’m sorry that that’s bringing up questions in your mind.”
The president of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP, Denise Williams, and the chair of the Springfield Community Police Advisory Team, told the family they would be supporting them through the case and working with them to get answers from law enforcement.
“We will make sure of transparency, that’s part of our job,” said Williams. “We will have every piece of paper with information on it. that’s our job. We will ask all of the hard questions and I guarantee you there will be complete transparency.”
The family said that besides more answers, they want justice and accountability from the officer involved in the accident.