END OF WATCH: October 14, 1989
Cuyahoga Metro Housing Authority
On Friday afternoon, October 13, 1989, 31 year old Willis Wright confronted and disarmed Officer Alcee McCray at gunpoint. Officer Alcee McCray had been making his rounds of the first floor of C.M.H.A. Building at 1791 West 25th St when Wright accosted him.
Officer John Perry came upon the two, words were exchanged and Officer McCray was shot and fatally wounded. After shooting McCray, Wright then shot Perry in the face. As he fell, Officer Perry returned fire, striking Wright four times and wounding him.
Wright fled with McCray’s firearm and almost knocked over two residents entering the rear of the building as he ran toward Franklin Avenue. Eventually he lost the stolen firearm as he climbed over a fence. Wright was apprehended short time later after being found cowering in the bushes by Cleveland Patrolman Tim Russell and his police K9 Rocky. Wright was taken to Lutheran Hospital where he was treated for the four gunshot wounds. His gun, a Vanguard Starter Pistol, was found nearby.
Alcee McCray was taken to Lutheran Hospital where he died at 3:43 a.m. on October 14, 1989. Officer John Perry was treated and confined at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital.
Rather than risk the death penalty, Wright obtained a plea bargain. After consulting with Anna L. McCray, wife of Alcee McCray, and victim John Perry, an agreement was reached and thirty-one Willis Wright was found guilty of aggravated murder and sentenced to thirty-eight years to life plus twenty-five years for the death of Officer Alcee McCray.
Alcee McCray’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. Panel 37, West-23.
By: P.O. Thomas Armelli, Cleveland Police Department