An Akron officer who shot two brothers in 2017 outside a downtown nightclub was justified in the shooting, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh has ruled.

Two other officers heard Officer John Turnure yell “gun” or “drop the gun” several times before firing at Latrent Redrick, Walsh said.

“This was a tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving situation set in motion by the reckless and dangerous actions of Mr. Redrick who pulled out a gun and pointed it at civilians on a crowded street,” Walsh wrote in an 11-page report. “Officer Turnure took prudent and reasonable actions, including using deadly force, in order to protect innocent civilians and his fellow officers.”

Sarah Gelsomino, one of the Cleveland attorneys representing Redrick and his brother Jamon Pruiett in a still-pending federal lawsuit, said she was disappointed but not surprised by Walsh’s report. She said four witnesses, including one officer, didn’t hear Turnure give any warnings before firing his weapon at Redrick from behind.

“It’s really disappointing to see a prosecutor’s office disregard a body of evidence,” Gelsomino said.

The shooting happened about 2:30 a.m. Oct. 1, 2017, outside the now-closed ZAR Nightclub at 349 S. Main St. where a fight broke out and people started running.

The brothers, both from the Cleveland area, and police disagree on what happened next.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Akron last October, claims Redrick, who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, Pruiett and their friends were being threatened by a group of men and Redrick showed them his gun. The suit claims Turnure fired at Redrick without ordering him to drop his weapon or that he planned to shoot. Pruiett also dropped to the ground and reached for Redrick’s gun in an attempt to defend himself and fired a shot, with Turnure then shooting Pruiett, the suit claims.

The brothers each were shot at least six times.

The suit claims Redrick asked for help from Turnure but the officer replied “F*** you.”

Walsh’s report paints a very different portrait of the shooting. For her investigation, she examined security video footage and crime scene photographs, talked to officers and witnesses, read police reports and looked at firearm and DNA analyses.

Officer Utomhin Okoh and Detective Jon Morgan both said they heard Turnure shout, “Drop the gun!” or something close to this before firing his weapon. When Pruiett fired a shot, Okoh said Turnure thought he had been hit and Okoh dragged Turnure behind a vehicle, according to the report.

Turnure, an Akron officer for 10 years and a Marine veteran, said he yelled at Redrick to drop his weapon several times. He said he believed Redrick was going to shoot into the crowd and fired when he saw Redrick raise his gun. He said Pruiett picked up the gun and pointed it at Turnure and Turnure then shot him, according to the report.

Walsh concluded that Turnure’s actions were “legally justified and appropriate in light of the circumstances and risk” posed by Redrick and Pruiett.

Walsh noted that Turnure was wearing a body-worn camera but didn’t activate it before the shooting.

"Surveillance video shows Latrent Redrick holding a gun and pursuing individuals on a crowded Akron street right before Officer Turnure used deadly force," Assistant Prosecutor Brian LoPrinzi, chief of the criminal division, said in an emailed statement. "We determined Officer Turnure had a reasonable belief that he needed to use that level of force to protect himself or the public from serious physical harm, which is the standard provided by the U.S. and Ohio Supreme Courts. Neither court nor state law requires an officer to order a person to drop their weapon before using deadly force."

After the shooting, Pruiett was charged with felonious assault on a peace officer and was acquitted by a jury. Redrick was charged with two counts of inducing panic and was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of inducing panic.

Turnure was placed on paid administrative leave with pay for two months after the shooting, returning to full duty Dec. 4, 2017. He is now assigned to the detective bureau, Akron Police Capt. David Laughlin said.

The department’s internal shooting review committee hasn’t yet completed its investigation. Part of that review will include what Turnure did and didn’t do with his body-worn camera.

Laughlin said the department’s body-worn camera procedure states “officer and citizen safety should always be given priority over activating” a camera. It further states that officers shall activate their cameras “at the first available opportunity after the immediate threat has been addressed.”

Gelsomino said the debate over the shooting will continue in the federal lawsuit, which is pending in U.S. District Court Judge John Adams’ courtroom. The parties are currently exchanging discovery.

“The criminal jury saw the truth of what happened here,” she said. “We certainly are pursuing a finding that the shooting was not justified.”

 

Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, swarsmith@thebeaconjournal.com and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.