Defying natural instinct, police officers ran toward danger and stormed into an all-out firefight in Toledo during the early hours on July 5. Bodycam video shows the brave cops attempting to save lives in Ohio as a hail of bullets were fired in the chaotic scene.
A Fourth of July block party in Toledo turned deadly when violence erupted at the celebration. Around 12:30 a.m. Monday, police were dispatched to the area of Lawrence and North Detroit Avenues. That is where 300 people were reportedly fighting. The fights escalated into gun violence, and multiple gunmen fired off more than 80 rounds, according to Toledo Police Chief George Kral.
Bodycam footage shows the police officers pull up to the block party, but instead of music blaring, there is the sound of gunshots and people hysterically screaming. Partygoers are seen racing away from the area. The officers repeatedly instruct innocent people to take cover as the cops advance toward the barrage of gunfire.
In near-complete darkness, the officers have only a split second to determine who is a bystander and who is a gunman. The scene resembles a war zone, and the officers must slowly advance by taking cover behind cars and any other structure to protect them from the possible threat.
"We've got multiple shooters everywhere," one officer warns.
A police officer instructs people, "Get down! Get down! Stay down!"
A woman is heard shrieking, "Somebody got shot!"
A cop screams, "Everybody stay down! Find cover!"
A truck is seen speeding away as shots continue to be fired, as seen in the nail-biting bodycam footage.
The unnerving video ends, but it doesn't show the entire story of the tragic scene. At least 12 people were shot, including one person who died from a gunshot wound. The victim was 17-year-old Stephon Johnson, a senior at Glass City Academy, who was airlifted to a hospital where he later died of his injuries.
"We need to know, we all need to know, my baby shine, I want his star to continue to shine," Stephon's mother said this week at a vigil for her deceased son. "He was a good kid, he didn't bother nobody. He looked out for all y'all, every last one of y'all."
Stephon's father called for someone to step up and reveal who his son's killer is.
"I know how the neighborhoods work, so I'm not expecting anybody to say anything, but it would be amazing and it would really lift weight off us if somebody said something because I know somebody knows something. The streets talk," Jorrel Johnson said.
Despite the distraught father's plea for witnesses to come forward with details of the shooting, police said that people at the block party are not cooperating with investigators. Police have yet to make any arrests in the mass shooting.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that will lead to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the shooters. Anyone with information should contact the ATF by calling 1-888-ATF-TIPS. Anyone with information can also call Crime Stoppers at 419-255-1111.
Content warning: Graphic video