Prosecutor recommends no jail for FBI agent who shot at officer

Ruben Manuel Hernandez appears in 61st District Court in Grand Rapids. (Feb. 24, 2017)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office has recommended no jail time for an ex-FBI agent accused of shooting at a Grand Rapids police officer in December.

Ruben Manuel Hernandez, who was fired by the FBI after the incident, pleaded no contest to felonious assault in 61st District Court Friday morning. As part of the plea deal, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and brandishing a weapon in public charges were both dropped.

Ruben Manuel Hernandez was arraigned via video on Dec. 7, 2016.
Ruben Manuel Hernandez was arraigned via video on Dec. 7, 2016.

When asked if the deal had anything to do with Hernandez being an agent, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said “I never had any contact with the FBI. This is a typical plea bargain … it comes down to he had no criminal history, which is big for anything we do. It’s a pretty typical plea offer for anybody going from an assault to a felonious assault with no criminal history. He did fire a round but he was in some sort of paranoid, drunken state for lack of a better term.”

Becker also cited a 2014 statistic from the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan which states 71 percent of people convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon were never sentenced to prison.

Hernandez’ attorney said the no contest plea was entered as a result of Hernandez having no recollection of what happened that night.

Officers were called to the Planet Fitness on 28th Street, near the East Beltline, after Hernandez was seen with a firearm inside the gym on Dec. 6.

Grand Rapids police respond to Planet Fitness on 28th Street after a man showed a gun inside. (Dec. 6, 2016)
Grand Rapids police respond to Planet Fitness on 28th Street after a man showed a gun inside. (Dec. 6, 2016)

Authorities say Hernandez then shot at a police sergeant when he tried to speak with him. Hernandez was arrested a short time later in The Orbit Room parking lot north of the Shops at CenterPoint mall. No one was hurt in the incident.

A video from inside a police cruiser, which was obtained by 24 Hour News 8 through the Freedom of Information Act, shows an interview with Hernandez after he was arrested.

“Anybody that is wearing a uniform, I will not hurt you,” said Hernandez.

Defense attorney Larry Willey said Hernandez may have had a “paranoid” episode at the time of the incident. He said alcohol may have played a factor.

Hernandez reportedly came to Grand Rapids from Las Vegas to conduct interviews on an undisclosed case.

A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but it is treated as a guilty plea at sentencing, which is scheduled for April 13.