First Responders

WATCH: Toledo Police Officers Rush Toward Gunfire on July Fourth

July 14, 2021Joshua Skovlund
Toledo Police

A screenshot from Toledo Police Department body-worn camera footage shows a Toledo policeman rushing into a gunfight between several people, July 4, 2021. Images courtesy of the Toledo Police Department/Facebook. Composite by Joshua Skovlund/Coffee or Die Magazine.

One officer gives the order: “Get out.” With that, two Toledo cops leave the safety of their patrol car and begin weaving through a dark landscape that has erupted in chaos. Around them, people run and scream, fleeing a Fourth of July block party that has turned into a bloody gunfight.

The footage was captured on the body cameras of the first two police officers on the scene. The just-released video shows the pair charging into the chaos and toward the gunshots.

At least 80 rounds were fired by multiple shooters, leaving 12 people shot, Toledo, Ohio, Police Chief George Kral said. One 17-year-old was killed in the gunfire and several other teenagers were shot. 

Watch how these officers use teamwork and deliberate movement toward danger in a chaotic environment.

As the video begins, the officers arrive in their car, and as soon as one opens the door, they immediately hear loud cracks. Whether they are Fourth of July fireworks or gunshots is unclear. But within seconds, louder cracks are heard — more distinctive of gunshots.

As one gives the order, they move out together and seek cover behind cars, heading toward gunshots, which grow louder as the officers get closer. As they get closer to the gunshots, they tell civilians not to flee but instead to “find cover!” and “stay down.”

The two seek cover behind a trailer as one makes a radio call to assess the situation: “We got multiple shooters, everywhere.”

Officer body-camera video as they arrive at the shootout; the officers arrive at approximately 1:15 in the video.

In total, 70 Toledo police officers, seven Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers, and seven Lewis County sheriff’s deputies responded to the mass shooting.

As the first two officers on scene continue to search, they find a couple hiding behind a car and yell at them to stay “behind the tire” — advice that would keep the couple behind the car’s wheels and brake assembly, which experts view as one of the more “bulletproof” sections of a car.

Despite the severity of the violence involved at the block party and the hundreds who were present, Kral said no one was coming forward with information about who was responsible. He expressed frustration toward the community’s lack of cooperation with the investigation. 

“We should be angry, we need to come together as a community,” Kral said. “We’ve seen this type of violence in this country all year long and now it’s hit home. Come forward — someone there knows who was shooting these guns.”

Read Next: New Colorado Law Forbids Police From Requesting EMS Use of Ketamine, Other ‘Chemical Restraints’

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He has covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children. His creative outlets include Skovlund Photography and Concentrated Emotion.

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