BCPD: Man shoots would-be Craigslist robbers

Battle Creek police on the scene on Linwood Avenue where shots were fired when a Craigslist deal went bad. (Oct. 6, 2015)

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Battle Creek police say two people were shot in the city’s Urbandale neighborhood after apparently trying to rob a father and son they had arranged to meet through Craigslist.

According to the Battle Creek Police Department, 42-year-old Jon Vanderwiel and 72-year-old Robert Vanderwiel of Grand Rapids drove to Battle Creek Tuesday evening after arranging on Craigslist to buy a car. Around 8 p.m., the Vanderwiel’s arrived at the meeting place — which turned out to be an abandoned home in the 600 block of Linwood Avenue — and were jumped by three men, police said.

Officers said Jon Vanderwiel is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, which he drew and fired twice.

Police at the residence on Broadway Boulevard following a shooting on Oct. 6, 2015.
(Police at a residence on Broadway after the shooting.)

Two of the attackers were shot, at which point they ran away. One sustained a wound to the upper torso and was found about a block away near Woodlawn Avenue. The other was shot in the lower torso and was found in the 100 block of Broadway Boulevard.

Both men, ages 19 and 20, were taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital. They were both listed in serious but stable condition on Wednesday afternoon.

BCPD Detective Sgt. Jim Martens told 24 Hour News 8 it was possible that they could be released from the hospital as early as Thursday, after which they would be formally arraigned.

Police arrested a third person, a 23-year-old man, hours after the shooting. That person is being called a person of interest rather than a suspect.

The father and son were not seriously hurt. Any wounds they sustained were superficial, Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker said.

Police at the McDonald's on W. Michigan Avenue in Battle Creek following a shooting. (Oct. 6, 2015)
(Police at the McDonald’s on W. Michigan after the shooting.)

After the shooting, the Vanderwiels went to the nearby McDonald’s on West Michigan Avenue to call police. Officers questioned them and determined the shooting was likely in self-defense.

**Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that the third man taken into police custody was a suspect. That is incorrect. He is a person of interest. This article also previously incorrectly stated his age as 20 rather than 23.

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