KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) – Two Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officers were justified when they shot and killed a rape suspect in February, according to the Kalamazoo County prosecutor.
Prosecutor Jeff Getting said he could see no other action the officers, Timothy Knight and John Vandenberg, could have taken when 40-year-old Brad Allen Mason answered the door of his home on the night of February 7 with what appeared to be a gun.
Getting said he spent the last five months reviewing the death of Mason, who was the suspect in a brutal rape and kidnapping of a woman that had occurred two days before he was fatally shot.
Only after the two officers had fired at Mason fifteen times – hitting him nine times – and only after Mason was pronounced dead at the scene did police learn the gun he had brought to the door was actually an airsoft gun.
Both police and the Getting agreed Mason had modified the airsoft gun to make it look like a real handgun.
“If you stand on the porch and point this gun at a Kalamazoo Public Safety Officer or [another] police officer, the likely result is that they are going to respond by firing their weapons,” Getting said. “It is indistinguishable from any other large frame semi-automatic hand gun.”
Getting said a search of Mason’s truck revealed a blood stain that tests proved to belong to the rape victim.
Additionally, a search of Mason’s apartment revealed three envelopes. Each envelope contained a letter, Getting said — two of which were addressed to Mason’s friends and one of which was addressed to his mother — that showed he was prepared to die.
“I have to go mom, I will be at peace, mother,” the letter to his mother said. “I hope you can smile again someday. Please smile for me, mom.”