It didn’t take long for Akron, Ohio police to catch up to Xavier McMullen, 17, and two other young men suspected of robbing a couple at gunpoint, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
Police arrived at the suspects’ home in August after neighbors identified their residence on a 911 call, the newspaper reported.
Officers put them each in a separate police vehicle, the newspaper said. McMullen’s hands were handcuffed behind his back as he sat in the back of a patrol car, authorities said, according to Cleveland.com.
But somehow the teen managed to shoot himself in the head, according to authorities. Officials ruled McMullen’s death a suicide, the Beacon Journal reported.
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McMullen’s family struggled to understand how a person whose hands are restrained would be able to shoot himself in the head.
“But maybe, if he had a gun on him, he was trying to get it off of him and while wiggling and struggling, the trigger pulled,” his older brother, Greg Wiley, had told Cleveland.com. “I’d understand a gunshot wound to his back, stomach, something like that. But not the head – how is that possible?”
Wiley also questioned why his brother wasn’t patted down properly, Cleveland.com reported.
“The cops did not do their job. I feel the cops took my brother.”
McMullen’s mother, Lisa Carswell, had told FOX 8 that she found out about her son’s death from the boy’s friends and the news – not police.
“I don’t get it … how are the protecting and serving, when they couldn’t protect one kid,” Carswell said.
Witnesses allege police didn’t check on McMullen for several minutes after they reported hearing gunshots, FOX 8 said.
The news station reported Monday that a police officer didn’t thoroughly search McMullen before the teen was placed in the car. Documents show that the cop has been disciplined— he will lose three days’ pay — for not properly searching the teen, FOX 8 said.
Capt. Jesse Leeser declined to discuss the department’s pat-down procedures, Cleveland.com reported in August.
“It all depends on the circumstances,” Leeser said. “It’s hard just to say, ‘every time you do it this way.’ It’s a rapidly evolving situation.”
McMullen’s family still wants answers and are considering filing a lawsuit, their attorney, Laura Mills, told FOX 8.
The department didn’t immediately respond Monday to a request by McClatchy seeking comment.