Tuesday, July 16, 2019 Elyria 74°

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Officers' names, audio of radio dispatch released (UPDATE)

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    Police officers provide security at the 2019 Great American Picnic and Fireworks Show on Wednesday at West Park in Elyria. There was an increased police presence at the event due to tension in the city following an officer-involved shooting. STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE



This story has been updated to reflect Battles’ Elyria Municipal Court record.

ELYRIA — A day after a police shooting killed one suspect and injured another, investigators began releasing details about the case, including audio files of police communications leading up to and after the shooting in Carlisle Township.

Officers on Tuesday afternoon pulled over a vehicle at the East Avenue Marathon gas station that was suspected to contain those involved at a shooting at an apartment on Park Meadow Lane. Police said an occupant pointed a weapon at officers, at which point they fired.

Isaiah Robinson, the owner of the vehicle, was taken to Mercy Health Lorain Hospital, where he died of his injuries. According to police radio traffic released Wednesday, Robinson was the one who pointed a gun at police.

The second man in the car, Damon Battles, 39, was taken to University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center and was released Wednesday.

Patrolmen Charles McArthur and Alan Kubas were identified as the officers involved in the shooting and they are on paid administrative leave, per department policy after a shooting. Kubas was hired in January 2017 and McArthur in August 2012.

The Lorain County Sheriff’s Office, which is handling the investigation, released a collection of audio files Wednesday afternoon of the officers communicating at the scene as well as the calls prompting their focus on the vehicle.

An initial 911 call was made Tuesday about two men in a black Malibu who fired two shots in the air outside an apartment on Park Meadows Lane. The caller said the men left and drove south on South Abbe Road.

Officers spotted a Chevrolet Impala matching the caller’s description of black, newer Chevrolet with heavily-tinted windows, and the car pulled into the gas station after police initiated a stop.

An officer radioed that he was holding the car at gunpoint until more police arrived at the scene.

“We need to start ordering these guys out. They’re all over the place inside,” an officer said over the radio traffic.

Dispatch determined that the car belonged to Robinson, 39.

“We might need some gas or something, pepper ball, I don’t know,” an officer said. “We need to figure it out.”

After a few more communications between officers and dispatch, two officers radioed that shots had been fired.

Chaos could be heard in the background as Elyria police tried to sort out the situation. An officer said that one person was down and another was in custody.

Two videos recorded by bystanders circulated on social media Tuesday as viewers tried to make sense of what happened and whether Robinson had a firearm. Neither video provided a clear view of Robinson, however, with Robinson obscured by an open car door in one video and by the vehicle itself in the second as it was shot from a parking lot across Fuller Road.

In a statement Tuesday night, the Sheriff’s Office said that one of the vehicle’s occupants opened the back door of the vehicle and officers could see that an occupant was pointing a gun at officers, prompting them to fire.

The Elyria Police Department does not have body cams or dashboard cameras.

Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda said the city has been exploring the use of body cams for a while, but the issue has been pending in City Council since April 2017. She said that body cams are expensive to buy and also maintain.

She said a national statistic has said that for 200 officers, body cams would cost $440,000 for the first year, and then $240,000 for every year after that. The Elyria department is about half that size.

Brinda said that she hopes Council will consider the use of Issue 6 funding to go toward the cameras.

On Facebook, she put out a statement about the shooting that said she would not comment about the investigation until the results were released.

“The City of Elyria wants a fair and impartial investigation of the events that occurred last night in relation to the traffic stop and officer-involved shooting in Carlisle Township,” Brinda said. “… While the investigation is being conducted, it is not appropriate for the city to comment.”

Robinson did not have an extensive criminal history. He was charged with operating a vehicle impaired on June 30 and also in 2018.

Battles’ history in the Elyria Municipal Courts is longer, with several domestics in 2009 and assault charges and cocaine trafficking charge in 2015. His last case through the Elyria Municipal Court was in 2017, for driving under a suspension, and in 2016 for his second offense OVI. He was charged with possession of cocaine and disorderly conduct in 2016. (This paragraph has been modified to add additional details from court records.)

Robinson and Battles were both charged as adults for aggravated robbery in 1996, when they were 16, but it isn’t clear if the cases are connected.

McArthur, one of the officers involved, had a DUI charge in 2015 and was placed on probation for three years. It isn’t known if McArthur faced internal discipline. The Chronicle-Telegram requested McArthur’s and Kubas’ personnel files but hasn’t received them.

McArthur and Kubas, as well as seven other officers, were honored in 2018 for their police work. McArthur received a police commendation for chasing down and arresting an armed robbery suspect. Kubas received an award for helping stop a California man from abducting a 14-year-old girl.

On Tuesday night, Elyria Councilman Marcus Madison, who represents the ward near where the shooting occurred, said: “Many prayers go out to the family, friends and everyone involved. I encourage everyone to be patient and to pray for those impacted as the investigation takes place and the facts are presented.”

Contact Laina Yost at 329-7121 or lyost@chroniclet.com.

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