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CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team now can take you inside the chase after the carjacking and murder of Cleveland Police officer Shane Bartek.
We are hearing for the first time from the officer who made the bust that helped crack the case.
Two suspects are facing charges connected to the case.
Richmond Heights Officer Sean Lawlor spotted the Cleveland officer’s car speeding past. He described how he felt he had to stop that car no matter what and be ready for whatever happened next.
Officer Lawlor said, “The vehicle was going over 100 miles an hour. That car was faster than our cars. I had the pedal to the metal, so to speak.”
Police had been alerted the murdered officer’s car could be heading their way, so Lawlor knew he couldn’t let the driver disappear.
“It would have been a disservice to the community to let this man go. It was our duty to follow this man to the end,” he said.
The police video shows officer Lawlor chasing the car into Euclid. The car crashed into a fence and a tree, but when the chase ended, the danger did not.
Officer Lawlor said, “There were many things going through my mind at that moment. We were prepared for a gunfight.”
In fact, on the police video, you hear a command shouted to the driver, “Show me your hands or you will be shot.”
Richmond Heights Police Chief Thomas Wetzel said, “The officers were under the belief that they were possibly pursuing someone that was a cop-killer.”
The chief told us he believes his officers acted heroically under tremendous pressure.
“The professionalism when they were on that scene. They did what they had to do. They weren’t cowboys. Just all business,” he said.
Lawlor added, “There were reports, there could have possibly been two people. We were ready for a shootout.”
As Richmond Heights Police and Euclid Police surrounded the car after the chase, you can hear the suspect on police video saying, “It’s just me. I don’t have a weapon.” And, he said, “I know I’m going to jail.”
Police found just one man in the car stolen from the Cleveland officer. That driver now facing charges for having that car. We’ve learned that bust then directly led to the arrest of the suspected killer.
Police say they pulled Anthony Butler, Jr. out of that car.
Meanwhile, Tamara McLoyd has been charged with the murder.
In the end, Lawlor didn’t give up, but he also points out that he didn’t get justice by himself.
He said, “It was a major team effort across all Northeast Ohio. We had the right officers in the right place at the right time.”
The Richmond Heights chief tells us he will be putting officers up for an award.
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