Man shot by police was alone, has criminal past

Crime scene tape surrounds a section of Crooked Tree Drive SW in Wyoming, near Ramblewood Apartments on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017.


WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Police say reports of a potential domestic dispute predicated an officer-involved shooting at a Wyoming apartment complex.

Capt. Kim Koster said officers were initially called to Ramblewood Apartments off 44th Street SW around 2 a.m. Tuesday for someone trying to get into a unit, but found nothing at the scene.

Three officers returned to the 4100 block of Crooked Tree Road SW after another call at approximately 3:13 a.m. for a reported argument inside an apartment, according to Wyoming police.

Koster says the officers made contact with the suspect, who was armed.

Witnesses tell 24 Hour News 8 that they heard officers yelling for the man to put down his weapon.

“‘Show your hands. Drop the gun,’ just over and over — loud,” said a witness who lives near the apartment where the shooting happened and asked not to be publicly identified.

“At that point, one of our officers did fire his weapon,” Koster said while explaining the situation to reporters Tuesday morning.

David Lightfoot, who lives at Ramblewood Apartments, tells 24 Hour News 8 he heard at least five gunshots. He said he thought the gunfire was on TV until his roommates confirmed they also heard it, and Lightfoot looked outside. He says he saw the suspect being removed from the building.

“They took a guy out saying he was Jesus,” Lightfoot said.

Police say the officers at the scene rendered first aid until the suspect was taken to the hospital. Investigators say his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Police evacuated residents in adjoining apartments as they brought in a robot and tactical team to search the building for victims.

“No other officers were injured, no other residents were injured. Obviously it was a dangerous situation, a threatening situation to the residents that live here, so we’re very glad that there were no other injuries,” Koster said.

Investigators are not disclosing details about what led up to the shooting. Koster said the Kent County Sheriff’s Office would be handling the investigation and the further release of information.

Kent County Undersheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said although neighbors thought they heard a fight, there was no evidence that anyone else was in the apartment with the suspect. It appears that he was yelling and causing the noises on his own and may have been having been having some mental health problems.

The suspect, LaJoye-Young said, is in his mid-20s and has a criminal past. His name was not released because he is expected to be charged with a crime and has not been arraigned.

Neighbors say the suspect lived in the apartment where he was shot and known to behave strangely.

The witness who spoke with 24 Hour News 8 said she was the one who called 911 the second time.

She’s glad she did.

“I am appreciative of their quick response. By the time I called they were out here within minutes,” the witness said of the Wyoming police. “I feel like if I hadn’t called, who knows how long the rampage would have went on.”

Following normal police procedures, the officer who fired his weapon will be put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, the Kent County prosecutor said the case had not yet been presented to his office.