MSP: Suspect dead after chase, shots fired

Police on the scene in Orleans Township near where a man led officers on a chase and then opened fire on them. (May 4, 2014)

ORLEANS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A domestic violence suspect armed with a long gun died in northern Ionia County Sunday after leading authorities on a car chase, then a foot chase and then opening fire on officers, authorities say.

Michigan State Police says its troopers and Ionia County Sheriff’s Department deputies were looking for a suspect involved in a domestic violence incident earlier Sunday. When officers spotted the suspect, he took off, MSP said.

Around 5 p.m, according to the Ionia Department of Public Safety’s Facebook page, the suspect was driving a delivery truck northbound on M-66 north of the City of Ionia. The chase briefly crossed into Montcalm County, but the suspect then turned around and headed south into Ionia County on M-66.

Witness Derik Eash posted video of the chase publicly on his Facebook page. (Warning: It does contain some profanity.)

Michigan State Police deployed two sets of Stop Sticks before the suspect’s truck’s tires blew out on Tingley Road, west of M-66 in Orleans Township.

The suspect got out of his vehicle and headed west on Tingley on foot, still carrying the gun. When he continued on in a field north of Tingley, Ionia DPS advised residents to lock themselves in their houses.

He then continued south of Tingley, then along to Meade Road near Hoppough Road. Residents were asked to avoid the area as multiple police agencies set up a perimeter, according to Ionia DPS.

Just before 5:50 p.m., Ionia DPS said the suspect was in a field near Hubbell Road, west of M-66 — nearly two miles from where he initially got out of the truck. Just before 6 p.m., Ionia DPS said, the suspect fired at officers with a pump-action shotgun.

Officers returned fire, and the suspect sustained a gunshot wound. Ionia County Central Dispatch director Jim Valentine said it was unknown whether the suspect was struck by officers’ shots or if the wound was self-inflicted.

Michigan State Police said in an evening release the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity is not yet known.

As of 6:12 p.m., Ionia DPS’s Facebook page said the scene was “secure.” No officers were hurt.

“One fired and then after that it was probably 20 seconds and the other one fired,” witness Cameron Dombroski, 18, told 24 Hour News 8. He said he watched the shootout through binoculars from his house. “I looked left to the field and saw a body in the field.”

Another witness who lives on Meade Road told 24 Hour News 8 in a phone interview that he saw the suspect walk through his yard and then into a field near his home, carrying a long gun. The witness said he heard about the chase over police scanners. He and his family of six then locked themselves in their home.

Other area residents said officers were going door-to-door and informing them that the suspect may be near their homes and that he was armed. They said they were grateful for officers’ response.

Michigan State Police assigned to both Ionia and Montcalm counties, the Montcalm County and Ionia County sheriff’s departments, the Ionia Department of Public Safety, the Belding Police Department and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources were involved in the chase.

M-66 was shut down for a time, but has since reopened.

“Nothing happens out here like this,” Dombroski said. “Nothing.”

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