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Maple Heights police officer shot 22-year-old Cleveland man as he climbed over fence

Datwuan Catchings flees while carrying an object in his left hand.
Cleveland Department of Public Safety
A still from the Maple Heights police officer's body cam footage shows Datwuan Catchings fleeing while carrying an object in his left hand that the officer who shot him said he believed was a firearm.

Body cam footage from a Maple Heights police officer who shot and killed 22-year-old Datwuan Catchings early in the morning on May 30 shows Catchings was shot while his back was turned to the officer, climbing over a fence while fleeing.

Police suspected Catchings of firing into a house in Maple Heights. Maple Heights police pursued his car into Cleveland, leading to a crash around Buckeye Road and E. 93rd St.

Cleveland police are investigating the shooting and released part of the body camera footage Thursday.

The video includes graphics that highlight a “right angle shaped object in left hand.”

According to Cleveland Division of Police statements following the shooting, a weapon was recovered at the scene of the incident. But it’s unclear from the video what Catchings had in his hand while he was being pursued.

The video starts with Catchings running after crashing his car. The officer repeatedly says, “Hands up. I will shoot you,” while chasing Catchings through backyards until Catchings is cornered by a building and fence.

Just before reaching the fence, the officer, who has not been identified, says into his radio, “I’ve got one with a gun, running, chasing him.”

Catchings continues to carry the object in his left hand as he tries to climb over the fence. The officer says, “Put your hands up,” repeatedly then fires one shot from a few feet away as Catchings attempts to go over the fence.

Catchings yells and falls over to the other side of the fence, and the video ends there.

According to a CDP statement, Catchings was taken to University Hospitals where he was pronounced dead.

Cleveland police said Thursday investigating both this case and a shooting by a Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority officer on June 2 at the same time is a challenge for the department that could take months to complete.

“The wearable camera footage that we are releasing today is a very important part of the investigation and the evidence, but it is only a part of the evidence,” CDP Commander Ali Pillow said Thursday. “In order for this to be a thorough and complete investigation, we need to put everything together.”