Police explain why officer shot at suspect

Posted at 11:17 AM, Feb 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 16:25:51-05

CINCINNATI – Police say an officer shot at a suspect during a foot chase Sunday because the man reached into his coat and the officer believed he pulled out a weapon.

District 2 Sgt. Andre Smith, a 28-year veteran, fired one shot at 23-year-old Ali Gervacio but did not hit him, police said Monday. No weapon was found.

The incident started about 1:40 a.m., when Smith was on patrol in the Mount Lookout area, police said. Smith tried to pull over Gervacio because he had been passing vehicles left of center. Gervacio refused to stop and led Smith on a short car chase.

Gervacio crashed into a parked car in the 3500 block of Linwood Avenue, critically injuring his passenger, police said. Gervacio then ran and Smith chased him on foot.

That's when Gervacio reached into his coat, according to Smith.  After Smith fired one round, Gervacio immediately surrendered.

Gervacio and his passenger were transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center for injuries from the crash. The passenger was taken into surgery and listed in critical condition, but is expected to survive. Gervacio had minor injuries.  

Gervacio was charged with aggravated vehicular assault and obstructing official business. Alcohol appears to be a factor in the incident and additional charges are possible, police said.

The police investigation is ongoing and will follow department protocol for police-involved shootings, including criminal and administrative reviews, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Criminal Investigation Section at 352-3542 or Crime Stoppers at 352-3040 or text “CINTIP” plus your message to CRIMES (274637).