WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — In a call to 911 before her husband was involved in a shootout with police that would lead to his death, Nicole James told a dispatcher that Alan James had “several” weapons, but that “he’s not going to do any harm.”
The incident happened on Jan. 29 in the area of Himes Street and Jefferson Avenue SE. Police say Alan James shot and wounded Officer Frank Hartuniewicz. Officers returned fire, shooting the 31-year-old in the chest. He died more than a week later after being removed from life support.
Before any shots were fired, Nicole James called 911 and asked for an ambulance to be dispatched to the home she shared with her husband. In the about 15-minute call, a recording of which was obtained by 24 Hour News 8 Thursday, she said she and her husband had “both been drinking heavily” for multiple days. She said “I need it to stop,” and that she had already sought other help “and couldn’t get it.”
>>Below, listen to the nearly 16-minute recording of the call, which includes some profanity.
Early in the call, an emotional James tells someone to “stop it” and “get off me” and says she “can’t breathe.” She later tells both 911 and ambulance dispatchers that her husband had not assaulted her.
She told the dispatcher that her husband had “several” weapons, but initially said he was not carrying them and that they were locked away. Several minutes later, after talking to an ambulance dispatch, she said her husband had gotten the guns out and that they were loaded.
“He won’t use them,” she said when asked if she was in a safe place. “And I don’t want him to go to jail. He didn’t do anything wrong.”
A dispatcher asked if she thought her husband would become aggressive with officers.
“Nope,” Nicole James said.
When the dispatcher asked why Al James got the guns out, Nicole James said it was because he was worried about ISIS, the government and recent bomb threats to a school.
“He’s not going to do any harm,” she said.
In the recording of the call, Nicole James can be heard telling her husband multiple times put the guns away, and then telling the dispatcher he refused.
It’s at that point Alan James seemed to want to say he wants to go out with at least one of his guns. His wife can be heard telling him not to.
“He’s not going to hurt anyone,” Nicole James repeated.
“I really need him to put the guns down and then step outside,” the 911 dispatcher says in the recording. “I don’t want anybody to get injured.”
“He’s… No one’s gonna get injured,” Nicole James said.
“I’m worried for both Alan and my officers,” the police dispatcher responded. “We can’t have someone coming out holding guns when the officers are there. Is there any way he can just set them down and then go outside, showing the officers he’s not holding any weapons?”
“Absolutely,” Nicole James replied.
The dispatcher is then put on speaker phone to talk to Alan James, and asks him to put the guns away.
“Nope,” Alan James can be heard saying. “You tell your cops to put them away.”
“Alan, it’s really important that the guns get put away,” the dispatcher said.
“It’s fine. He’s not going to use them,” Nicole James said.
The officer again told Nicole that the guns need to be put away before officers can come in the house.
“I can’t get him to put them away,” she replied.
After a few more moments, Nicole James told the dispatcher her husband would put down the guns to walk out. The dispatcher instructed Nicole to walk outside with her husband with their hands up and she agreed. She can then be heard disagreeing with her husband, telling him they were “going to get help.” He seemed to remain uncooperative.
At first, Nicole James refused to leave without her husband. Then she exclaimed “Oh, my god!” but told the dispatcher nothing happened.
She said she had gone outside and can be heard telling her husband to “open the door.”
The dispatcher instructed Nicole James to go to the officers. In the recording, there is the sound of a brief disagreement between her and an officer that seems to be over a cigarette, after which the dispatcher hangs up and the recording ends.
It was after that, it seems, that Alan James exited the house while armed. Police say he fired first and shot Hartuniewicz. Hartuniewicz hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the abdomen and released the next day.
Police say officer returned fire, inflicting the gunshot wound that would eventually lead to James’ death.
Earlier this month, Nicole James told 24 Hour News 8 that her husband was “hallucinating” and was not himself. She claims that the guns were not pointed at officers when he exited the house and that Alan James did not start firing first.
She said her husband suffered from mental illness and was on medication that made him act out of character on the day of the shooting. She said he was the same medication when he stabbed her in the neck five years ago.
The prosecutor’s office is expected to rule in the coming days whether the officers who shot James were justified in using deadly force.