Charges uncertain after man shot, killed

An undated courtesy photo of Bryan Bigham.

OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Kalamazoo County prosecutors are working to decide if an Oshtemo Township man should faces charges after fatally shooting another man early Tuesday.

Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas told 24 Hour News 8 Bryan Joseph Bigham, 27, of Kalamazoo died Tuesday morning at Bronson Methodist Hospital.

He was shot just after midnight Tuesday in the 4600 block of Redleaf Street at the Woodland Estates mobile home park, southwest of Kalamazoo.

Courtesy photo of Brandon Groetsema.
(Courtesy photo of Brandon Groetsema.)

Family members identified Brandon Groetsema, 23, as the man who shot and killed Bigham. He does not face any criminal charges at this time.

Matyas says Bigham was visiting his girlfriend and was highly intoxicated when they got into an argument.

“The girl at the residence is yelling and screaming, calling for help, which awakens the neighbors,” one of whom was a 23-year-old neighbor, Matyas said. “He (the neighbor) goes outside to see what the problem is and he has a gun with him.”

Groetsema apparently found Bigham hiding behind a nearby shed and there was a conversation between them. Bigham allegedly threatened Groetsema and charged at him twice. The neighbor then shot Bigham, fatally wounding him, Matyas said.

Matyas said 911 received two calls about the incident. The first was from a woman in a mobile home. The second was from the neighbor who shot Bigham.

“The gist of his conversation was he was out with this guy and this guy had charged him twice and that he had a gun, and that he told the fella he had a gun and that he was going shoot him and he did,” Matyas said.

He said gunshots could be heard on the 911 call.

Matyas said the neighbor was interviewed and then arrested — initially on a charge of assault with intent to commit murder and then homicide after Bigham died.

The Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office requested more information from the sheriff’s office before deciding whether to file charges against the neighbor. Matyas said it will be a tough decision for prosecutors, who want to make sure they make the right one.

It’s not yet known when their decision will come down.

“We have preached this repeatedly: Any time there is an element of violence, all parties get scrutinized,” Matyas said. “Sometimes it’s pretty obvious what happens and who’s perhaps at fault and who’s responsible. Other times, it’s not so clear. And this might be one of those times where it’s not abundantly clear.”

Meanwhile, Groetsema has been released from the sheriff’s department’s custody. Authorities couldn’t hold him without charges from the prosecutor’s office.

–24 Hour News 8’s Evan Dean contributed to this report.

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