Citizens halted alleged prison officer stalker

A courtesy image of a citizen stopping James Kenny so police can arrest him. (May 29, 2015)


WESTPHALIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Though there was a police helicopter in the sky and multiple agencies assisting in a manhunt for a former prisoner allegedly turned violent stalker, it was two regular citizens who actually stopped the suspect.

James Michael Kenny was arrested Friday after police say he showed up at the Westphalia Township home of a female corrections officer who works at a prison where he was once housed. The victims said Kenny showed up at the doorstep armed with a knife and that the officer’s boyfriend confronted and disarmed him.

James Kenny's June 1, 2015 mug shot.
(James Kenny’s June 1, 2015 mug shot.)

He ran away, prompting a multi-agency manhunt. Citizens living in the area quickly became aware of what was happening, including a man and his nephew who happened to be riding an ATV in the area when they saw the suspect.

The men gave chase. The uncle ordered the suspect to stop and he did.

“I just basically told him,’ Get to the ground,'” said the uncle, who along with his nephew asked not to be identified to protect their safety and privacy.

“I kind of just put my knee into his back and grabbed his arm and put it behind his back,” the uncle continued.

An officer nearby promptly moved in to assist and Kenny was taken into custody.

Monday, he was charged with felonies in the case and ordered to be held without bond.

The uncle and nephew said they were glad to be in the right place to help.

“We just helped them out a little bit,” the nephew said.

After the suspect was subdued and being held by the uncle, the nephew began taking photos and video. One shows the uncle holding the suspect face-down with both hands.

A courtesy image of a citizen who stopped James Kenny helping an officer take him to a patrol car. (May 29, 2015)
(A courtesy image of a citizen who stopped James Kenny helping an officer take him to a patrol car.)

The nephew labeled a video of the suspect being hauled away by his uncle and an officer “Citizen arrest baby.”

The Clinton County sheriff said he planned to recognize the men for their assistance during a ceremony at the end of the year.

The men said they are not looking for any praise and that it’s people like the corrections officer who was allegedly stalked and others who work in prisons who deserve the praise.

If Kenny is convicted, he’ll likely be headed back to prison and placed under the care of other Michigan corrections officers.

“They’ve got to live with these people and deal with them for the next 20, 30 years,” the uncle said. “To those corrections officers, we’d like to say thank you very much.”

The officer involved in the incident said she wanted to thank the men who helped her.

“They are my heroes,” she said.

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