Two groups of cops mistakenly fire on each other, kill bystanders in the middle
Despite varying levels of experience, all 13 officers who fired their guns -- and many who did not -- told investigators they thought deadly force was needed to stop a violent encounter with two suspects who they believed were armed.
"I've never been more afraid in my life," said Officer Michael Brelo, who fired 49 shots that night. "I thought my partner and I were being shot and that we were going to be killed."
Brelo, according to his account, climbed onto the trunk and then the top of a zone car and reloaded his gun, firing rounds into the Malibu. An Iraq war veteran, Brelo said he saw "the suspects moving and I could not understand why they are still moving, shooting at us. Even through Iraq, I never fired my weapon. I never have been so afraid in my life."
Many of the officers who heard "shots fired" broadcast over police radio mistakenly assumed the gunfire was coming from the suspects, the report reveals.
Officers recounted for investigators seeing guns, objects that looked like guns or one of the suspects loading guns in the middle school parking lot -- which could not have been possible at that point in the incident. No gun was found in the car.