Trooper justified in killing man who shot deputy with crossbow

Courtesy photo of Travis Quay, 40, who was shot and killed by police on October 9, 2015 after officers say he shot a sheriff's deputy with a crossbow.

STANTON, Mich. (WOOD) — A Michigan State Police trooper was justified in shooting and killing the man who shot a sheriff’s deputy with a crossbow, the Montcalm County prosecutor has decided.

The incident happened late on Oct. 9 in Cato Township, east of Lakeview. Authorities went to the home of Travis Quay, 40, to arrest him in connection to an assault that allegedly happened earlier that day.

Scene where a Montcalm County Sheriff's deputy was shot with a crossbow before a Michigan State Police trooper shot and killed the perpetrator.
The scene in Cato Township where the incident happened.

In the earlier incident, Quay’s neighbors said, Quay accused them of stealing his marijuana plants. According to a Wednesday release from Montcalm County Prosecutor Andrea Krause, Quay held one of his neighbors, Timothy Schultz, at knifepoint. Later, when Schultz’s adult son, Levi Schultz, went to Quay’s house, Quay apparently stabbed him in the arm with a pitchfork.

Officers looked for Quay at his home and searched his property, but he wasn’t there, so they left.

When Quay came home later, the Schultzes called police. Two Montcalm County sheriff’s deputies, a Lakeview police officer and MSP Trooper Timothy Moreno went back to Quay’s property around 11:15 p.m.

According to the prosecutor’s report, Moreno and Deputy Michael Kotenko went to the door of the mobile home on the property. Quay’s wife opened the door when they knocked. They told her there was a warrant out for Quay’s arrest, and she said he wasn’t home.

Moreno and Kotenko went into the home to check it, which they were allowed to do because they had an arrest warrant. Moreno, who was the first to enter, spotted Quay in the kitchen area, armed with a crossbow. Moreno ordered Quay to drop the crossbow and pulled his sidearm.

Quay fired the crossbow and a triple fixed-blade broadhead bolt struck Kotenko in his right side, below his arm.

Moreno returned fire. He fired three shots, one of which hit Quay in the upper left chest. Quay fell face-first to the floor, at which point Moreno handcuffed him. Quay died at the scene around 12:55 a.m.

An autopsy found he died of the single gunshot wound to the chest, according to the prosecutor’s report. Toxicology reports indicated his blood alcohol content (BAC) level was .19, more than twice Michigan’s legal limit to drive. He also tested positive for marijuana, the prosecutor said.

Kotenko was hospitalized and the bolt was removed. He was released later in October and was expected to make a full recovery.

Deputy Michael Kotenko (Courtesy Montcalm County Sheriff's Department)
Deputy Kotenko.

Authorities later learned that Quay had made statements earlier on Oct. 8 that he would not go jail, and that he brought the crossbow back to his home from a friend’s house, according to the prosecutor. In addition to the crossbow he used, authorities found a compound bow nocked with an arrow near the door, an open bow case in the bedroom, and an aluminum softball bat between the kitchen and living room. They also found three paper bags of marijuana in the living room.

Moreno had reason to believe his life and the lives of his fellow officers were in danger when he opened fire, Prosecutor Krause said, and was justified in the use of deadly force as a matter of self-defense.

Moreno is a three-year veteran of MSP and is also a lieutenant in the National Guard.

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