CAMP WASHINGTON, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher defended officers who were involved in a fatal shootout that occurred over the weekend between officers and a motorcycle club.
The incident occurred Saturday at JD's Honky Tonk on Spring Grove Avenue and involved undercover police officers and members of the Iron Horsemen motorcycle club.
Streicher said it all started when police began receiving reports of Iron Horsemen "taking over" bars in the West End, Cheviot and Green Township areas looking for members of a rival club called the Detroit Highwaymen. An officer observed members of the Iron Horsemen at JD's on Saturday and alerted his lieutenant.
"They actually are checking each and every person in the bar to see if anyone is associated with the Detroit highwaymen. If there is someone in there, the assumption is that is going to be a point of confrontation," says Streicher.
Several officers responded to the bar, led by a marked police cruiser. Streicher said the officers were wearing vests that said "police" on the front and back. Some of the officers were wearing masks and others were not.
Streicher said a member of the Horsemen who was guarding the gate to the bar's beer garden, Harry Seavey, saw the officers arriving and reached inside his jacket pocket.
"Do I think it's reasonable to assume he knew they were police officers, yes. But then, the attorney for the Iron Horsemen Motorcycle Gang offers a different description," says Streicher.
An attorney for the Horsemen said earlier this week that Seavey probably thought the officers were members of the Detroit Highwaymen.
When officers realized Seavey was grabbing a gun, they ordered him to drop his weapon. Seavey did not comply and fired shots at officers using a 9mm pistol.
Officers returned fire and about 20 shots were fired at Seavey. Streicher said Seavey suffered a severed spine and gunshot wounds to both lungs. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
"Seavey was the only one who did not comply with police," Streicher said, adding that he was also the only one who fired shots at officers.
Two officers were hospitalized, but have since been released and are recovering at home. Their names are not being released because of their undercover status.
Another member of the Horsemen was shot in the foot, but Streicher said it's unclear who shot him.
Streicher said Seavey had recently been involved in a shootout in Maine with members of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang. Police say Seavey came to Cincinnati to lay low and Cincinnati Police Officers were notified that Seavey was in the Tri-State when he was spotted on Seventh Street in June.
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