WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — The man who allegedly opened fire Thursday on Wyoming police, injuring an officer, is a father who had worked at a tool-and-die shop and had a minor criminal record.
Friends and others identified the suspect as Al James, 31, who was living at the home on Himes Street SE with his second wife. He has a 10-year-old son with his first wife, according to those close to him. They say his son visits him on weekends.
After James allegedly opened fire, shooting a Wyoming officer, police returned fire, striking him in the chest. He was last reported in critical condition. The officer has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home, police said.
Long-time friend John Schmidt II said he and James went to Greenville High School together and became fishing buddies.
“That’s what I know,” he said, pointing to James’ Facebook page, which shows him holding a fish. “He’s always been my fishing partner. I’ve fished with him a lot. I’d see him at Sixth Street dam fishing a lot of times.”
He and others who know James said they were shocked he would open fire on police.
“Al’s always been a real passive guy, from what I know,” Schmidt said. “He’s always been pretty passive, non-violence, use your words, that kind of person.”
The owners of the home on Himes said James and his second wife had rented there for about a year and a half. They were shocked by the shooting.
The long-time friend said James had been working at a tool-and-die shop and seemed to be doing well, though he was aware of prior domestic problems with the couple.
“I was under the impression he was trying to walk the straight and narrow, work hard,” Schmidt said.
But, he and others who know James, said he’s had a problem with alcohol. They fear he may have started drinking again.
In 2008 in Manistee, James was convicted of drunken driving. The following year, in Walker, he was convicted of misdemeanor assault.
“For me to hear about this, I feel it’s uncharacteristic of him,” Schmidt said. “Shooting at police officers? I wouldn’t see how he felt like he was in a position where he felt like he had to do that.”