SPRINGFIELD — A review of the autopsy of the man Springfield police said was shot and runover by a responding police officer showed he had blunt force trauma to the torso and his extremities in addition to a gunshot wound.
News Center 7 reviewed the autopsy for Eric Cole, who died early Monday morning after the incident Sunday night on South Center Boulevard, following a public records request.
The coroner’s office said it was notified of Cole’s death by a nurse at Miami Valley Hospital. A coroner’s investigator called Springfield police about the death and officers said Cole “may have been struck by a vehicle and shot in the left arm,” according to the report.
Cole called 911 around 11:15 p.m. to say he’d been shot by someone.
“I’m in the middle of the street,” Eric Cole told 911 dispatchers as he reported being shot. “I’m about to die.”
The autopsy showed Cole was shot in the back of his left arm and the bullet went “through the skin and soft tissue.”
Cole remained on the phone with 911 dispatchers as Officer Amanda Rosales responded to the shooting.
“They just hit me,” Cole said.
“Who hit you?” the dispatcher asked Cole.
“The police,” he said.
Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf identified Rosales as the officer who hit Cole with her cruiser and called the incident an accident.
“This was an accident. It doesn’t mean it’s OK. It was an accident. This was not an intentional act on the part of the officer. I am sure of that,” Graf said. “From what we are initially piecing together, remember this is all under investigation, the lead officer was trying to catch the addresses on the house. Eric was lying in the street as you can see from the videos — and the officer did not see him.”
Cole’s autopsy showed he had abrasions to his back and lower chest and lacerations on his left shoulder and back, along with internal bleeding. He also had a fracture of his sternum and multiple left ribs.
There also was blunt force trauma to his arms, knees and legs, according to the report.
The coroner’s office has made no rulings yet on how they believe Cole died. The cause and manner of his death were listed as pending.
Cole’s family showed up to Springfield police news conference on the incident Wednesday and showed their frustration about the incident.
“We thinking the gun people that shot him ran him over — but the Springfield Police Department ran him over. So yes, we’re upset. You know what I mean? We’re all upset,” Cole’s cousin said.
The Springfield chapter of the NAACP said they plan to be involved with the police department and the family as the investigation into what happened continues.
“We will make sure of transparency. That’s part of our job. We will have every piece of paper with the information on it. That’s our job. We’re gonna stay in it with you mom, until the end,” said Denise Williams, President, Springfield NAACP.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is handling the investigation into the crash, where Rosales ran over Cole. The Springfield Police Division is conducting an investigation into the initial shooting and the internal affairs investigation into the incident.
“This is a complicated incident. And we’re trying to gather facts. We also have a responsibility to discuss this with the family. It was very important, I felt, that we needed to talk with the family about this before this came out to the media,” Graf said.
Rosales was placed on paid administrative leave after the incident.
©2021 Cox Media Group