COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Franklin County Coroner’s office has ruled the police shooting death of an unarmed Black man a homicide.
According to the autopsy report, 20-year-old Donovan Lewis died within minutes of being shot by Columbus Police Officer Ricky Anderson in the Hilltop neighborhood in August. A single bullet shot through Lewis’ abdomen, damaging internal organs before lodging in his pelvis.
Anderson shot Lewis after police attempted to serve an arrest warrant on him. Body camera footage showed Anderson shot Lewis, sitting on a bed, within a second of the bedroom door opening.
“My patience is running thin,” said Lewis’ mother Rebecca Duran. “I’m tired of being quiet. I’m tired of waiting for their due process because the ultimate answer is he didn’t get his.”
Anderson was placed on administrative leave after the shooting. According to his personnel record, he was fired from the Columbus Division of Police in 2004 for fraudulently taking back pay. He was reinstated after the Fraternal Order of Police disputed the firing.
The autopsy report indicates that in addition to the bullet wound, Lewis had bruising on his wrists, forearms, and right leg. Other than his injuries, he was a healthy adult, the coroner ruled. His blood tested positive for nicotine and THC– but this does not necessarily indicate that he was under the influence of substances at the time of his death.
Lewis was wanted because, in a court filing, a woman who said she was pregnant with Lewis’ baby said she had been shoved out of a chair by Lewis and assaulted by him previously.
Duran said it is important critics who’ve suggested her son was under the influence of drugs are aware of the findings.
“Drugs weren’t the issue, and to stop people from trying to tear him apart,” she said. “He didn’t have any heavy drugs in his system.”
Officers stood outside Lewis’ bedroom, commanding him to show his hands and “crawl out here,” the body camera footage showed. The officers entered the bedroom about 30 seconds after the gunshot and handcuffed Lewis, telling him to “stop resisting” in the process.
Additional body camera footage from other officers at the scene showed that just over a minute after Lewis was shot, an officer called paramedics and asked other officers to start rendering aid. One officer rushed outside to retrieve a first aid kit, according to the footage.
“Pat him down. Make sure he’s good,” an officer said before they begin rendering aid to Lewis, and seconds later, decide to take him outside. Medics arrived about six minutes after the gunshot.
An attorney for Lewis’ family previously called police officers’ actions “reckless.”
“In literally the blink of an eye, a Columbus police officer shot and killed Donovan Lewis, an unarmed young black man who was alone in his bed in the middle of the night,” attorney Rex Elliot said at a media briefing after the shooting.
Attorneys for the family also accused CPD of violating Andre’s Law — a city ordinance passed after the police shooting of 47-year-old Andre’ Hill that requires police to immediately administer aid to an injured person.
Mark Collins, an attorney representing Anderson, previously told NBC4 that the investigation must look at the totality of the circumstances and that “unlike all of us, officers are not afforded the luxury of armchair reflection when they are faced with rapidly evolving, volatile encounters in dangerous situations.”
The Bureau of Criminal Investigations is continuing its investigation into Lewis’ death. Once BCI completes its investigation, it will forward the report to the county prosecutor’s office for review, a spokesperson from the attorney general’s office said.
Duran said her family is dealing with so much pain.
“People online, they go crazy and the sad part is they’re so wrong, but they’re so convinced in what they’re saying and doing that they don’t realize he has younger siblings, he has grandmas and all that affects them because we knew him,” she said.