I-TEAM investigates why man involved in shooting outside rec center given probation

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The I-TEAM has obtained video showing what happened after a shooting outside a local rec center, and we investigated why the gunman got probation.

We found hundreds of cases getting handled just like this one because they involve criminals with serious mental health issues.

In this case, video shows Cleveland Police chase down a man on a scooter after shots were fired outside the Zone Rec Center on the west side.

Police got their man, and they got justice, but maybe not the kind you’d expect.

The shooting happened back in July, and Feliz Lopez has now plead guilty to felony assault, a weapons charge, and running from police.

He ended up with a sentence of probation and has also been put under the watch of a judge specializing in cases involving criminals with serious mental health issues.

In fact, Cuyahoga County Court now has the cases of more than 800 suspects and convicts handled by judges overseeing what’s called the “Mental Health Docket.”

So a guy like Felix Lopez ends up back on your streets, but under closer watch.

Judges handling the special mental health cases are making sure suspects and convicts are seeing doctors and taking medicine and living in decent places. And the defendants in these cases get called back to court more often so that judges can make sure they’re staying out of trouble.

How well does the special monitoring of mental health cases work? Those figures were not immediately available on Friday.

Cuyahoga County Court now has five judges handling the cases, and the court has now been doing it for years.

Felix Lopez will be on probation for two years. If he violates it, he could get sentenced to up to four years in prison.

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