Chilling phone calls lead to murder of Cleveland officer Jamieson Ritter

Ed Gallek and Peggy Gallek

12 min ago

CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained chilling 911 calls that lead to an encounter between Cleveland police and Delawnte Hardy ending with the death of officer Jamieson Ritter.

Wednesday, Cuyahoga County Prosecutors indicted Hardy on 18 charges for killing his grandmother and the officer. The charges make Hardy eligible to face the death penalty.

The phone calls come from just after midnight on the Fourth of July.

Two relatives of Hardy called 911 to alert police he could be found at a home on Cleveland’s east side. They said they knew Hardy was wanted for shooting his grandmother.

The 911 recordings show a series of calls with those relatives telling Cleveland police dispatch, “They just said he was, he was like a number one suspect.”

And, “My great nephew shot my sister in the head, so he’s wanted by Garfield Heights Police. And, he might be armed. He’s right here peeking out the door. Can you please get him?”

The callers also said, “’Cause he’s texting me, right now. I think he’s trying to leave the house.”

One of the callers lost patience as he said he was watching the house where Hardy had gone. He told dispatch, “Man, at least get one car out here.”

Hardy was considered a dangerous suspect, but we’ve learned police did not call out a heavily-armed SWAT unit. You hear dispatchers trying to confirm the suspect was wanted for that other shooting. And, police have told us they needed to make sure the suspect was, in fact, in that house.

As police rolled up, the man watching the house where Hardy had gone, said, “Got ’em here. “Yes, please, thank you Lord.”

But, no quick arrest.

Police say Hardy left the house through a back door. He had a gun and two machetes. He hopped on a bike, And, then, investigators say he shot officer Ritter.

This week, the Cleveland police union president spoke out to the I-Team about what happened and what’s ahead.

“They did everything they could do,” said Andy Gasiewski, who talked about the officers on the scene. “This was a full fight. This male did not care for anyone’s life, safety, not any bystanders, not the officers. I don’t think he even cared for himself.”

Just months ago, Hardy was found incompetent to stand trial on a charge of resisting arrest. Mental health issues are expected to come up again as this case moves through court.

Delawnte Hardy, 24

Hardy will appear in Cuyahoga County Court soon, to begin answering the new charges. Cuyahoga County Prosecutors will have a committee decide, later, whether or not , to pursue the death penalty.