Cleveland: A man was shot and killed by pursuing police who responded to a call of shots being fired. The suspect, Antonio Levinson fled as police caught up to him, dropping one pistol as he ran. He then allegedly pulled out another pistol and pointed it at police. The police then fired shots at the man, striking him and killing him. Levinson's mother had some cold hard truth to tell about the police after the shooting of her son.
While stories like this are all-too-often in the news, what the suspect's mother had to say about the death of her son at the hands of police is almost unheard of. Cyrida Johnson, Antonio's mother, told WOIO Cleveland 19 in an interview that her son was well known for always carrying at least 2 guns on his person and that he was a drug dealer who lived the street life.
Johnson went on to say that the morning of the incident she recalls urging him to leave the street lifestyle and that the last thing she wanted to do that day was be at the morgue identifying his body, just because he chose to live the street life.
Unfortunately Ms. Johnson's words fell on deaf ears and only four days later, she was, in fact at the morgue identifying her son. She exclaimed this was quite a message to everyone living the street life.
Cyrida Johnson then said that she does not blame the police for the death of her son. She said it was not the cops' fault and that they were only doing what they had to do when presented with an armed suspect pointing a weapon at them. She noted that they had every right to protect themselves
Johnson said that she felt her son thought he was invincible, and could not die.
She lamented about how that feeling he had was clearly untrue based on her identifying him as a deceased person at the local morgue.
She said that she never wanted his life to end like this and that she hoped her words would help to make him want to get out of the dark and dangerous street life. She said that she will never get to hear his laugh again, because he was being ignorant. These are her own words.
Johnson said that while she loved her son with all of her heart, but essentially there was nothing she could do to save him.
Ms. Johnson took the time to deliver a poignant message to the community by urging individuals engaged in the street life to put their guns down. She said that coming from a mother who knows, they should heed this very serious advice. She elaborated that it simply is not worth losing one's life by running from the police or shooting at them. She urged people involved in this lifestyle to think about their families and that being involved in what they seemingly feel is a brotherhood, is simply not worth their lives.
Johnson said that while people involved in the illicit street life might feel invincible amongst their friends when they have guns on them, they are not invincible to the reality of the police who are trained to kill.
She pointed out that if you pull a gun on police, you're going to get killed, just like her son. Again, these are her words, not mine.
After the incident Antonio Levinson was transported by ambulance to University Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Police found two weapons at the scene.
It is not immediately clear the administration status of the officers involved, but as is usually protocol it can be assumed they are on administrative leave with pay until a mandatory investigation is completed.