December 22, 2014

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Police scramble to find gunman after shots fired in Westlake

Police from several cities search for a gunman near Bradley Road in Westlake on Saturday. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Police from several cities search for a gunman near Bradley Road in Westlake on Saturday. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

WESTLAKE — Gunfire shattered the window of a small accounting firm on Saturday, prompting a six-hour-long manhunt for the shooter, which yielded no results.

Around noon Saturday, shots were heard around Center Ridge and Bradley roads. One shot struck an accounting firm on 30700 Center Ridge Road and another was fired in the direction of officers on the scene, according to a press release.

No injuries were reported, but the shots prompted a response from multiple police departments including North Olmsted, Westlake, Bay Village, Fairview Park, Lakewood, Rocky River, North Ridgeville, Clevelands Metroparks rangers and the Westshore Enforcement SWAT Bureau.

“If you’re going to fire another shot with a police officer present, that indicates a certain level of violence,” Westlake police Capt. Guy Turner said at a press conference Saturday, adding that it is illegal to discharge a firearm within city limits.

Residents in the area were told to evacuate or stay inside during the search which lasted until about 6 p.m. Saturday.

Police look for evidence after an accounting firm on Center Ridge Road in Westlake reported it was struck by a bullet.

Police look for evidence after an accounting firm on Center Ridge Road in Westlake reported it was struck by a bullet.

Officers set up a perimeter around Bradley and Crocker roads, south of Center Ridge Road, soon after the shots were heard. For four hours, they scoured the woods around the area on horseback and on foot with police dogs while an Ohio Highway Patrol helicopter searched from above.

Center Ridge Road between Magnolia Parkway and Bradley Road was closed for most of the search, as well as parts of Bradley Road.

Turner addressed the incident at a media press conference Saturday afternoon. Police had no description of the shooter and were searching for evidence about the type of gun used in the shooting, he said. However, Turner called the situation “increasingly worrisome” because shots were fired in the area of a police officer.

Some residents who were asked to stay inside during the ordeal said the shooting was unusual for a place like Westlake.

“It’s kind of weird for Westlake … if it was something serious, someone would have come to the door,” said Bob Kalapis, who lives in the area on Bradley Road. “It’s a little strange to look outside and see 30 SWAT guys in your backyard.”

Christine Frey, who also lives on Bradley Road, was away from home during the gunfire but said she was alarmed to look at her phone and see texts from her friends, asking if she was all right.

“That freaked me out,” Frey said.

The area was cleared and roads reopened, but no shooter was found, according to a news release.

Reporter Chelsea Miller contributed to this story.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.