KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) – The abduction and rape suspect who was fatally shot by Kalamazoo public safety officers appeared to have been anticipating his death, according to Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley.
Brad Allen Mason, 40, was shot and killed by officers Friday just after 5:30 p.m. outside his home in the 100 block of W. Dutton Street near South Burdick Street
Officers arrived at Mason’s home to follow up on an investigation involving a woman who said she was abducted not far from Mason’s home. She said she was then raped and later dropped off in the same area from which she had been taken.
KDPS said they were about to put a sketch out of the rape suspect, but delayed because they were closing in on Mason. When asked Monday how sure police were that Mason was the perpetrator in that case, Hadley responded, “We believe he is a very, very good suspect.”
Hadley said Mason told his girlfriend, “The police are here for me. They’re going to have to kill me.”
When officers approached Mason at his home Friday, he approached them with a black gun in his hand as he walked down the stairs from his apartment, Hadley said. Detectives retreated, yelling, “Gun!” but Mason continued towards the officers and did not drop the gun even though he was ordered to do so.
Two officers then fired their service weapons at Mason, Hadley said. Mason was hit and fell onto the porch. He was cuffed and officers immediately began CPR, but could not revive him.
After retrieving Mason’s gun, police learned that it was an airsoft gun.
Hadley said the officers would not have had any way of knowing that. That’s because Mason removed the orange tip from the gun after buying it with his girlfriend in November 2013, according to Mason’s girlfriend. And Mason’s father said he had painted the gun black.
“It would be impossible for anyone, including an officer, to distinguish this gun from any other,” Hadley said.
Investigators also found three letters that had been written by Mason to family and friends prior to the shooting. The content of the letters made it was clear Mason was prepared to die, police said.
In one of the letters, he wrote, “I’m on to the next world, wherever that may be.”
In another, Mason gave away a vehicle and signed the letter, “My last will and testament, Brad Allen Mason,” Hadley said.
Hadley called the situation “tragic” because it left a trail of victims including Mason’s loved ones, the woman who was the victim of the alleged abduction rape, and ultimately Mason himself.
KDPS’ Office of Professional Standards and the Criminal Investigations Division are conducting independent investigations in the case. Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting will also review the case.
When asked whether it would fair to define the incident as a “suicide by cop,” Hadley replied that he thought “you could draw those inferences.”
“I think we need to do a little more investigation and piece a lot of the things together, but I would say, on its face, that certainly is what it appears to me,” he said.
The involved officers have been put on excused time off, Hadley said. Their identities have not been revealed. That is common protocol in cases of officer-involved shootings.
“There’s nothing that leads me to believe that these officers acted anything but valiantly, and with the utmost courage and professionalism,” he said.
Family members told 24 Hour News 8 they understand why police shot Mason, but they have questions about the investigation into the sexual assault. They said Mason, who was already on the state sex offender registry for a previous crime, had an alibi for the night of the most recent rape.
Hadley said his detectives are looking into the possibility that there may have been additional sexual assaults connected to Mason.