Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Officers in cruiser shot at on Winton Terrace street

By Randy Tucker, rtucker@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Two Cincinnati police officers were shot at about midnight Sunday in Winton Terrace while they were sitting in their squad car writing a ticket for an abandoned car.

        District 5 Officers Stephen J. Lawson, 29, and Jay Johnstone, 35, were not injured in the attack, in which police believe at least three shots were fired.

        Two bullets struck the officers' cruiser, one just beneath the right front door and one high on the right rear door.

        “Although it's not frequent, it's not uncommon,” said police spokesman Lt. Kurt Byrd, referring to shots fired at police.

        Investigators have no suspects or motive for the shooting in the 100 block of Craft Street in Winton Hills, Lt. Byrd said.

        Radio communications between the police officers and the dispatcher suggest that the officers remained calm under fire but didn't realize their cruiser had been hit.

        “We just had shots fired at our vehicle,” one of the officers told the dispatcher in a monotone.

        “Where they fired at your vehicle?” the dispatcher asked.

        “We didn't have any shots at our vehicle, but they appeared to be generated in our direction,” one of the officers said.

        The officers left shortly afterward because they couldn't determine where the shots were coming from, Lt. Byrd said.

        When the dispatcher asked if the officers saw anyone shooting at them, one of the officers replied: “We didn't see any suspects. It (shots) came from the north side of the street. It was pretty close to our vehicle.”

        Officer Lawson is a three-year veteran of the force. Officer Johnstone is a four-year veteran.


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