Cleveland, OH – A man involved in a single-vehicle crash on I-90 on Thursday evening attacked the Good Samaritans who stopped to help him, including a Cuyahoga County sheriff’s deputy (video below).
Brett Luengo, 33, was repeatedly tased by the deputy, but he continued his attempts to assault anyone who came close to him, Cleveland.com reported.
The violent man was ultimately shot in the chest by the unnamed deputy during the altercation, and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, WOIO reported.
The incident began just before 7:30 p.m., when Luengo crashed his vehicle on the interstate near the West Boulevard exit, according to Cleveland.com.
Those who pulled over to help him quickly found themselves under attack, witnesses said.
Luengo first grabbed a woman by the neck and yanked her out of her vehicle. He began to choke her, but a man intervened, and struck Luengo in the head with a wrench.
Another passerby saw Luengo bleeding from the head, so he stopped to provide aid, and was also attacked.
Luengo then proceeded to walk down the edge of the interstate and tried to grab two children out of the back of yet another woman’s vehicle.
The Cuyahoga County deputy was working traffic enforcement in the area and stopped to assist what he assumed to be an injured car crash victim, WJW reported.
“He exited his vehicle to investigate and found that the involved parties were involved in an altercation,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release, according to WOIO. “One of the involved parties became aggressive toward and charged the deputy.”
"He kept screaming to shoot him,” witness Jason Geiger told WEWS. “The cop kept asking him to roll over, put your hands behind your back. The man was not cooperating. He kept trying to get up and attack the police officer. He kept lunging at him.”
Video footage captured by witnesses showed Luengo as he flailed on the ground, ignoring the deputy’s commands.
The deputy deployed his Taser, but it “had little to no effect,” Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney said during a Friday press conference.
Luengo lunged at the deputy, then got onto his feet, nearly pushing the deputy into the path of an oncoming semi-truck, the video showed.
The deputy backed away towards the front of his patrol vehicle, and repeatedly ordered Luengo to get onto the ground, but he continued his advance.
“The deputy gave the subject several commands, which the subject ignored, and continued to charge toward the deputy,” Sheriff Pinkney.
The deputy discharged his weapon, striking Luengo once in the lower chest, WEWS reported.
Luengo was rushed to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Luengo’s motive was unknown, and he did not appear to have a criminal history, Cleveland.com reported.
His parents later said that Luengo was suicidal and possibly homicidal, according to Cleveland.com.
Westlake City Council President Michael Killeen said that Luengo was the chief executive officer of a construction management company, and that he recently got married.
"He was probably one of the brightest people I've ever met," Killeen said. "He was extremely intelligent. He enjoyed pushing himself to learn other things. He wanted to be the best at everything he did, in a good way."
The deputy, who has been with the department for over 25 years, was not injured in the attack, Sheriff Pinkney said.
During the press conference, County Executive Armond Budish commended the deputy involved, and noted that he had “responded to an evolving scene and acted in a timely manner.”
“I am very grateful to our deputy, who…helped citizens, who themselves were in danger,” Budish said. “Our safety officers do not come into service to take lives, but to save them, and I know our deputy responded appropriately.”
The deputy has been placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues, as per protocol, Sheriff Pinkney said.
You can watch cell phone footage of the deputy's encounter with Luengo in the video below: