3 Officers Shot, Hostage Killed During Home Invasion
Comstock Township, MI – Three law enforcement officers were shot and a hostage was killed during a home invasion in Kalamazoo County on Sunday night.
The incident occurred at about 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 1 after an armed suspected broke into a residence off Proctor Avenue near King Highway, WXMI reported.
Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller told reporters at a press conference on Monday morning that the victims inside the home did not know the intruder.
The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office said it received multiple 911 calls reporting an intruder inside the home holding multiple people hostage, WOOD reported.
Authorities were able to talk on the phone to the hostages and the suspect while sheriff’s deputies, Michigan State Police troopers, and Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) officers responded simultaneously to the scene.
Sheriff Fuller explained that the regional SWAT team was also called to the scene but had not arrived yet when things progressed.
As soon as the first officers and deputies arrived at the residence, they heard gunfire from inside the home, WOOD reported.
A group of officers from all three agencies moved in to try to rescue the hostages but the suspect turned his weapon on law enforcement at that point.
“Officers went into the residence to try to save lives. The officers went in with a plan and worked that plan as a team,” Sheriff Fuller said. “During the incident, three officers received injuries due to the suspect firing his gun.”
The sheriff further explained what happened during the incident.
“There were a lot of rounds fired off last night by the suspect, and no officers were in a position to return any fire because they were worried about other victims,” he said. “And that’s why you have three injured officers today and the suspect in custody.”
Officials identified two of the three wounded law enforcement officers.
KDPS Officer Caleb Jones was shot in the shoulder and remained in the hospital in “good condition,” KDPS officials said.
Officer Jones, a three-year veteran of the department, is also a member of the SWAT team.
Michigan State Police officials said that Trooper Mark Fletcher had been struck in the lower leg by gunfire.
He was treated and has already been released from the hospital.
Sheriff Fuller said that one of his rookie Kalamazoo County sheriff’s deputies received a graze wound to the head, but he did not release the deputy’s name.
He told reporters that the wounded deputy had been a member of the sheriff’s department for less than a year.
The homeowner, who was shot by the suspect before police entered the home, died of his wounds at the scene.
“The young man who was lost was new to this community but he was taking care of his family last night,” Sheriff Fuller said.
He explained that the mother protected their little girl by hiding the child upstairs while the father faced off with the intruder downstairs.
Police said the suspect tried to flee the house after he shot the officers but that he was captured and arrested, WOOD reported.
Officials from all three affected departments expressed condolences to the family of the hostage who was killed, calling it a “senseless and tragic incident” and pointing out that the family had nothing to do with it and were just victims.
Sheriff Fuller said the law enforcement officers who were at the scene were struggling with the outcome of the incident.
“They were at the scene and did everything they could, and there’s still a loss,” the sheriff told reporters.
He said the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office has taken the lead on the investigation and will be seeking charges against the suspect for murder, home invasion, unlawful imprisonment, multiple counts of assault with intent to murder, and multiple other firearms charges.
Sheriff Fuller said suspect was being held at the county jail and praised the restraint of the arresting officers who brought him in.