Officer justified in shooting stabbing suspect

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The December 2013 shooting of a man by a Portage police officer has been ruled justified by the Kalamazoo County prosecutor.

On Dec. 17, Michael Mackins allegedly stabbed a woman multiple times in a vehicle near the intersection of Romence Road and Constitution Boulevard. He then took off.

The victim provided the Portage Police Department with a description of Mackins, and Lt. Brian Vanden Brink found him about a quarter mile away.

When Vanden Brink got out of his car after spotting the a man matching Mackins’ description, the man approached him, according to Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting’s report on the officer-involved shooting shooting, which was released Monday. Vanden Brink asked if the man was “Mike” and he said he was.

Vanden Brink was in plainclothes and an unmarked vehicle, but was on duty at the time and was wearing both his badge and his department-issued sidearm. The prosecutor’s report says that Vanden Brink identified himself as an officer as he approached Mackins.

Mackins continued to approach Vanden Brink. The officer, becoming concerned for his safety, ordered Mackins to put his hands out to the side. Mackins initially complied, but then but his hands down. Vanden Brink reached for Mackins’ arm in an effort to detain him. Mackins then attacked him.

The pair struggled. Vanden Brink told Mackins to let him go, but he didn’t. The officer punched Mackins and kicked him in the groin, but Mackins still did not let him go. Vanden Brink said he was concerned that if Mackins managed to force him to the ground, Mackins would be able to harm him — perhaps with the knife used in the earlier stabbing.

Vanden Brink eventually freed himself from Mackins and took a step back. He reached for his gun and so did Mackins, the prosecutor’s report says.

Vanden Brink fired a shot. Mackins continued to reach for the gun, so Vanden Brink shot again, hitting Mackins.

Mackins grabbed his leg. That, the prosecutor’s report says, is when he gave up.

“I quit,” Mackins said, according to the report. “I’m done.”

Vanden Brink held Mackins at gunpoint while he radioed for backup and medical assistance. When other officers arrived on the scene, they found a bloody knife in Mackins’ pocket.

Mackins was treated for a gunshot wound to his right thigh. The Illinois man was then jailed on assault and unlawful imprisonment charges.

According to the report, Vanden Brink — who has been with Portage Police Department since 1991 and has received six letters of commendation — “had no option” but to shoot Mackins in order to protect himself. Vanden Brink will not face any charges.

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