YOUNGSTOWN - A man who police say was shot by an officer after he tried to run the officer over was officially charged Wednesday as the officer who fired was cleared by an Internal Affairs Division probe.
The IAD found that officer Brad Ditullio followed the department's use of deadly force guidelines when he fired several shots at a car he tried to pull over for expired plates on the West Side about 12:20 a.m. Monday.
A warrant for felonious assault on a police officer was also issued for Jesse Cooper, 39, of West Ravenwood Avenue, who was shot in the stomach.
Cooper is under armed guard at St. Elizabeth Health Center, where he is being treated for his injuries. He will be arraigned when he is discharged.
Ditullio was trying to pull Cooper's car over at Connecticut and North Richview avenues for expired plates when the car took off through several backyards.
He positioned his cruiser so he could block the car from going back to Connecticut Avenue and got out of his cruiser when he was run over. He told IAD investigators he thought Cooper would try to run away on foot so he got out of his cruiser, which was when he was run over.
Ditullio was hit by the front of the car and got stuck on the side view mirror. He fired his weapon after he was dragged for several feet because he was afraid for his life, he told investigators. Two of the three rounds he fired hit Cooper in the stomach.
Cooper was released from prison this year after serving a sentence for rape and kidnapping. He also has past arrests for obstructing official business and resisting arrest, the internal affairs report noted.
The department's use of deadly force policy states that officers can use such force when they believe their life is in danger of the life or health of another is in danger, and when all other avenues of trying to stop the situation from escalating have not worked.
A woman who was in the car with Cooper at the time of the incident will not face charges, police Chief Rod Foley said.
''They questioned her that night and she was cooperative,'' Foley said.
Foley said more charges could be filed against Cooper at a later date.
Ditullio has been an officer since 2001. He was awarded the department's Life Saving Award in March for stopping a woman from jumping off a downtown parking deck.
The last time a Youngstown officer used their weapon was in April 2011, when an off-duty officer working a security detail shot and killed an armed robber. He was also cleared after an IAD investigation.