Cleveland police officer turned fugitive rape suspect fatally shoots self after six-hour SWAT standoff

A former Cleveland police officer accused of raping his girlfriend shot and killed himself Tuesday after a six-hour standoff with a SWAT team. Tommie Griffin III, 52, fatally shot himself in the chest with an AR-15 in the basement of a friend’s home, where he’d been hiding from police, U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said, reported. Griffin, who spent 22 years as a decorated member of the Cleveland Police Department, was arrested after he allegedly pistol-whipped and raped his girlfriend in January. He resigned from the force and was under house arrest until he cut off his GPS ankle monitor Saturday, prompting a manhunt by the U.S. Marshals Service. A SWAT team arrived at the home in the Kamm’s Corners neighborhood and caused nearby schools to go into lockdown. Police spent six hours trying to contact Griffin over a bullhorn, according to Eventually, the SWAT team entered the home, where Griffin pulled the trigger of the AR-15 rifle, shooting himself in the chest. The SWAT team found his body without a note. “It’s a tragedy, a tragedy for the division of police family and for his family,” Daniel Fay, 1st District Commander, told Fox 8 Cleveland. “We wanted him to come out peacefully and have his day in court.” In January, Griffin reportedly found his 42-year-old girlfriend with another man, prompting his attack on her the following day. He pistol-whipped and punched her in the face, firing shots into the mattress near her head, court records show. He then led her to the basement of her home where he pointed the gun at her and sexually assaulted her, police said. He was arrested the same day, and police later found more than 60 firearms in Griffin’s home. He had been on house arrest since posting bond in March and was scheduled to begin his trial on Oct. 30. Griffin was hired as a Continue Reading

Cleveland mayor, GOP officials promise calm ahead of Republican National Convention — still city’s police union chief asks state to suspend open-carry laws

The storm has already set in ahead of this week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland. But despite even more bloodshed Sunday in Louisiana and growing worries over Ohio's open-carry gun laws, police and political bigs were still promising calm. "We are prepared, and we're prepared not only on a local level, but (on) the state and the national level," Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said on ABC's "This Week." "We're prepared for everything." "Anytime something happens, particularly if it's unusual, then you tweak and you modify whatever you're doing to accommodate that in order to minimize it or mitigate the possibility of it," Jackson added. "We're not strangers to unrest and demonstrations and protests." More than 10,000 protesters from an array of pro- and anti-Trump groups, as well as Black Lives Matter and other groups, were expected to gather in Cleveland this week, raising tensions that blood was bound to spill. Specifically among them are "America First," a pro-Trump group that anticipates 5,000 people will join in its planned parade Monday, and "Stand Together Against Trump," which was granted a permit to march another 5,000 strong on Tuesday and Thursday. But heightening concerns to peak levels is the fact that Ohio is an "open-carry state," meaning it's legal for people who legally own firearms in the state to carry them openly without a permit — even though participants will be banned from carrying benign items within the "event zone" surrounding the Quicken Loans Arena like water guns, umbrellas with metal-point tips and tennis balls. The chief of Cleveland's police union has blasted the state's allowance of firearms near the convention site as "absolute insanity" and on Sunday, as reports of yet another shooting targeting police officers rolled in from Baton Rouge, La., he formally requested to Ohio Gov. John Kasich a temporary end to the state's legal open-carry laws. Steve Loomis, the president Continue Reading

SEE IT: Cleveland rumbles as 55-year-old Innerbelt Bridge crashes to ground in series of controlled explosions

Cleveland was rocked by what felt like a mini-earthquake Saturday after demolition crews brought down one of its iconic bridges. Thousands gathered early Saturday morning to see the Ohio city's  come crashing to earth with a bang. In what was just a matter of seconds, five of the I-90's nine steel spans were detonated and then disappeared forever. With the blast zone and downtown sealed off, crowds gathered in a nearby viewing area. The remainder of the four-lane 5,078-foot long bridge, which first opened to traffic on August 15, 1959, will now be dismantled using more traditional methods, according to Fox 8. Its complete removal is expected by the end of next month. It will eventually be replaced by two new structures, which will carry traffic in both directions, reports WKYC. The first is already open, temporarily carrying traffic in both directions, while the second bridge will reportedly be ready in 2016. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

VIDEO: Masked attackers wake sleeping Cleveland man at home, hold him hostage with assault weapons

He awoke to a nightmare. The feel of a gun barrel’s cold steel in his back and a pillow stuffed over his face made a Cleveland man, sound asleep just moments before, think it was the end. "When they put the pillow over my head I thought that was it. I thought I was gone." Masked men with assault weapons burst into his home 7 a.m. Monday, said the young man, who wished to remain anonymous. "I was sleeping and I heard a bang on the back door, and a loud bang, and they said 'police,' so I figured something was going on," he told Fox 8 Cleveland. The attackers, who were dressed in white from head to toe, reportedly kicked in the back door and rummaged through the home. They stole money and electronics before escaping in a silver car, police said. "They held me hostage for a while, they took me downstairs," he said. After a previous robbery, his roommate Ronney Cooper installed a system of surveillance cameras, which recorded the morning invasion. The video shows one of the aggressors holding what is likely an Uzi as he paced back and forth. The victims handed the footage over to the police but also want the public to see it in case anyone can identify one of the perpetrators, whose face was visible toward the end of the video. "Some guy come outside, took his mask off and I hope that this picture someone recognizes him and reports it," said Cooper. "It's a hell of a thing to wake up to in the morning, to a gun to your back," his unidentified roommate said. The Cleveland Police ask anyone with information regarding this incident to call (216) 623-5118, reported Fox 8 Cleveland. "I really hope these people get caught," said Cooper. [email protected] Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Cell phone camera records Cleveland rescue of kidnapping victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight

Two Cleveland residents had front-row seats to the dramatic rescue of three women held captive as sex slaves for 10 years. Jasmina Baldrich and Ashley Colon were in a car on the evening of May 6 when they witnessed cops converging on Ariel Castro's home. "We go down the street thinking cops were going to pull us over, then we saw all this madness with the police," Baldrich told CBS News. "They were going in the back of the house, just trying to find a way to break it in." Baldrich recorded cell phone footage of authorities prying open the front door. Cops soon were able to remove captives Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus from the house. The third captive, Amanda Berry, had previously escaped the house and alerted neighbors, who called authorities. “Maybe it was meant for us to see, because everybody doesn’t get to see somebody get saved, especially after ten years,” Baldrich told Fox 8 in Cleveland. “Amanda was talking to a cop, and I saw tears fall from her face, and it just broke my heart.” Berry was seen outside the house holding a child, Baldrich said. "She was carrying her baby the whole time in her arms, and the baby kept saying 'daddy,'" she told CBS News. The 27-year-old Berry had gone missing in 2003, one year after Knight disappeared and one year before DeJesus vanished. “And the cop asked her, 'What’s your name?' And Amanda was like, 'I’m Amanda Berry,'" Baldrich told Fox 8. "And me and my friend looked at each other like ... like no, this is impossible because she had been gone for so long." Castro, charged with kidnapping and rape, may face the death penalty for keeping Berry, Knight, 32, and DeJesus, 23, as sex slaves for a decade, an Ohio prosecutor said last week. The fired bus driver, accused of abusing and torturing the women for Continue Reading

4chan busts Burger King lettuce molester in Cleveland-area outlet

A Burger King employee posted a disgusting image on 4chan: someone standing in open containers of the establishment's lettuce. The photo was accompanied with, "This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King." The online army called 4chan immediately jumped into action and allegedly discovered the location of the Burger King. Never underestimate the power of 4chan's anonymous activist users. According to, the poster did not strip this data from his photograph. Within 15 minutes of the posting, irate 4chan users reportedly located the Burger King's address, in Mayfield Heights, Ohio - outside Cleveland. They claimed to have contacted the local news as well as the branch manager. Bryson W. Thornton, director of global communications for Burger King, told Fox 8 News, "We are aware of the photo that was allegedly posted by an employee at a BURGER KING® restaurant in Ohio and are taking the issue very seriously." It looks like nobody except for the poster found this stunt humorous, since most of us would like to enjoy the occasional cheeseburger without the image of a man's shoes sullying the lettuce in our minds. A shift manager told the Cleveland Scene that the perpetrator and shift manage on duty at that time will both be fired. Thornton added, "We are investigating the matter and will take appropriate action as necessary." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Matthew Fox detained by police after allegedly assaulting female bus driver

When Matthew Fox wants to party, he's not letting anyone stop him.Cleveland, Ohio Saturday night after allegedly assaulting a woman who tried to stop him from entering a party bus, Fox 8 News reports.According to an incident report obtained by the news station, Fox was trying to enter the vehicle outside of a bar despite being uninvited. He reportedly wanted a ride back to his hotel.The female bus driver, Heather Bormann, told that she tried to stop Fox from getting on board, but he appeared too intoxicated to understand what she was saying.TMZ.Alex Cross," a thriller based on James Patterson's murder mystery book series which also stars Tyler Perry and Rachel Nichols. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Cleveland news anchor who made racial slur while discussing Lady Gaga makes casual return to the airwaves (VIDEO)

Well, um, in other news... The Cleveland news anchor who used a racial slur twice during a discussion of the Oscars, resulting in a suspension of several days, made a casual comeback to the airwaves on Monday, swiftly sidestepping her earlier embarrassment. Kristi Capel did a totally typical job co-hosting Fox 8 Cleveland’s morning news show from 4:30 to 10:30 a.m., making no mention of last week’s career-curbing controversy, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. The station issued no statement on her return and did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The local anchor became a national agitator last Monday after using “jiga---,” a slur for black people, while discussing Lady Gaga’s “Gone With the Wind” anniversary performance at the Oscars. “It's hard to really hear her voice with all the jiga--- music that she (makes), whatever you want to call it," Capel said in the segment. She then repeated the term, in front of her black co-anchor Wayne Dawson, before the two awkwardly moved on to the traffic report. Capel’s comment set off a nationwide social media outrage. She apologized on air and on Twitter the next day, saying she did not know the meaning of the word. But the station still suspended her for the rest of that week and said in a statement that she met with “a group of African-American clergy” to “begin the process of reflecting on the gravity of this incident.” On her return broadcast Monday, the beleaguered broadcaster coincidentally had to talk several times about Lady Gaga again, for a report about the singer and her fiancé participating in Chicago’s Polar Plungeon over the weekend. After Monday’s show, the station still has not said whether she was paid or unpaid during her brief leave. Capel, 31, has not tweeted anything since her Continue Reading

Cleveland kidnapping victim Michelle Knight releases song called ‘Survivor’

Who better to sing a song called "Survivor" than Michelle Knight? The woman, who was one of three girls trapped in a Cleveland home for a decade by their kidnapper Ariel Castro before finally being rescued two years ago, has released her first song called "Survivor." The music video debuted on TV Station FOX8 in Cleveland Tuesday night and her music is filled with an inspiring message of faith and redemption. "They tell me I'm nothing. That I was born a mistake (and) try to convince me my existence has been faded to gray," she sings. "And that I'm worthless, but it don't hurt me to say I've been through hell and back but can't you see the smile on my face." I'm not afraid of nobody. Knight, who appears in a church in the video, also sings that even though she had years of her life taken away she never lost her faith even when trapped in Castro's home. The Ohio native met producer Aaron "D-Boyy" Dissell who helped her arrange the music. He told the station when they first met at a concert she immediately said she wanted to sing him the song. "She just started singing," he said. "She didn't wait for anyone to listen she just started singing. And it was beautiful you know? … It was a cool moment for sure." Knight was rescued along with Gina DeJsus and Amanda Berry on May 6, 2013. She was held captive in the home since 2002. Castro was arrested and committed suicide in jail. She told the Jen and Tim Show ion Cleveland's radio station 102.1 FM that the song was made from a poem she wrote while in the house. And she is very excited about the new project. She said she was screaming and jumping up and down when FOX 8 offered to let her record the video in their studio. "Everyone was like 'are you sure you want to do this in front of everybody?'" she told the station. "I'm not afraid of nobody." And if she ever has any doubts about obstacles that go with singing she can take a page from the Continue Reading

Cleveland cop acquitted for killing two unarmed black people arrested for assaulting twin brother

A Cleveland police officer, whose acquittal last month on voluntary manslaughter charges after killing two unarmed black people sparked major protests in the city, has been arrested for assault following a fight with his twin brother. Four days after Michael Brelo, 31, was seen crying in a courtroom after Judge John O'Donnell found him not guilty on May 23, he and his brother Mark both punched one another in a fight in Bay Village, Ohio, according to the Bay Village Police Department.  Both brothers have been charged with misdemeanor assault and Mark Brelo, 31, was also charged with disorderly conduct, the station reported. According to the police report provided to the Daily News, Mark Brelo was allegedly intoxicated and was banging on doors at 4:28 a.m. in his brother's neighborhood in the Cleveland suburb. Witnesses said he was asking for help after an incident with his brother. Police said the two were drinking alcohol at Michael Brelo’s home and a physical fight occurred between the two men. Both brothers had visible injuries but no weapons were used, police said.   The assailants turned themselves in on Wednesday and will appear in court on June 10. “Based on the facts it was determined that assault charges against both were appropriate and warranted,” Bay Village Chief Mark Spaetzel said in a statement. He added Brelo’s recent trial was not a factor in this investigation. Cleveland Police Union President Steve Loomis told TV Station FOX 8 in Cleveland the fight occurred because Michael Brelo wanted his brother to leave his house. Their father told the station he is disappointed in the incident and is still trying to determine what happened. Brelo, who is still on leave with the Cleveland Police Department, was accused of firing 49 shots through the windshield of a car at victims Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, as he stood on the vehicle's Continue Reading