Cuyahoga County

Richmond Heights Police use of deadly force ruled justifiable


Cleveland – The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office has completed its review and concluded that Richmond Heights Police Officer Greg Patterson was reasonable and justified in his use of deadly force when he shot and killed Carlumandarlo Zaramo on December 6, 2015.

Evidence in the case has been presented to the Grand Jury, and its members agreed that Officer Patterson’s actions were objectively reasonable and justified in the light of the events of that evening.

 In a letter sent today to Richmond Heights Police Chief Gene P. Rowe, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty wrote: “Officer Greg Patterson is to be commended for responding with courage and for heroically fulfilling his duty to protect and serve his fellow officer and the citizens of Richmond Heights.”

Officer Patterson was one of four Richmond Heights Police officers who responded to a 911 call from Mr. Zaramo’s wife at 7:06 p.m. on December 6. She reported that her husband had a gun and was threatening to kill himself and that she and her 11-year-old son had left the family residence on Geraldine Road.

After police arrived, Sergeant Michael Gerl initiated a phone conversation with Mr. Zaramo who eventually admitted officers to his home. Once inside, Sergeant Gerl continued talking to Mr. Zaramo and persuaded him that he needed to see a doctor. Mr. Zaramo asked to get some warmer clothes before they left for the hospital, and Sergeant Gerl and Officer Patterson accompanied him to the master bedroom on the second floor.

Sergeant Gerl led Mr. Zaramo into a walk-in closet. Mr. Zaramo reached up to a shelf and pulled down a pistol. Sergeant Gerl tried to wrestle the gun from Mr. Zaramo and was shot. Immediately, Officer Patterson who was standing in the doorway of the closet drew his service revolver and fired six shots at Mr. Zaramo, fatally wounding him.

Sergeant Gerl was rushed to the hospital. He suffered multiple injuries, including broken ribs and damage to his right lung and liver.

The shooting was investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Evidence was turned over to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office for review. In keeping with the Office’s policy on police use of deadly force cases where civilians are killed, evidence was also presented to the Grand Jury for a final determination on whether criminal charges are warranted.

Both the Prosecutor’s Office and the Grand Jury concluded that given the dangerous situation, Officer Patterson was justified in his use of deadly force.

“Officer Patterson could have taken cover or fled and left Sergeant Gerl to be killed by Mr. Zaramo’s second or third shot,” Prosecutor McGinty wrote to Police Chief Rowe. “Given Mr. Zaramo’s use of deadly force against another officer, Officer Patterson used the only alternative that would save Sergeant Gerl’s life. This shooting was necessary and justified.”

Read the CCPO investigative report

Read Prosecutor McGinty's entire letter to Chief Rowe

Contact: Joseph Frolik, Director of Communications and Public Policy. Phone: 216.443.7488 or