BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — The suspect who was shot and killed by officers in Battle Creek Monday morning had been under police surveillance since last week, Michigan State Police say.
Authorities identified the man shot and killed as 36-year-old Joshua Dale Prough.
Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen said he was wanted for safe breaking, larceny of a handgun and a felony charge of possessing a weapon.
The officer-involved shooting happened around 8:45 a.m. at Tree Top Ridge Apartments, near the intersection of E. Burnham Street and Riverside Drive, where Prough was staying.
Christensen said the MSP Fugitive Team arrived at the apartment and talked to Prough through the door before ramming it down. Once inside, they were confronted by the suspect, who had two handguns.
“From my understanding, the weapons were raised at the officers,” Christensen said.
Authorities say three MSP troopers and one officer from the Battle Creek Police Department fired at Prough. All four officers are on administrative leave, which is standard protocol in an officer-involved shooting.
None of the officers were injured.
Kristen Smith, who lives next door to the second-floor apartment where the shooting happened, had just returned home after working third shift when she heard the banging and eventual breaking of the glass door to her apartment’s balcony.
“I thought there was somebody on my balcony breaking down my glass door. So I turned around, saw bullet holes in my wall,” Smith said.
She ran for her phone to call 911, but police were already there.
When the Fugitive Team opened fire, at least some of the rounds went through the wall into Smith’s apartment.
“Knowing somebody’s potentially on the other side at 9 in the morning?” Smith questioned the handling of the incident. “They (the bullets) went through my dining room wall and through my sliding door there, which is really smashed.”
Investigators say before they pick up fugitives, they complete a threat assessment that gives them an idea of how dangerous the suspects may be and what additional precautions, like calling in SWAT or evacuating a premises, should be taken. The assessment on Prough did not indicate those additional steps were necessary.
“Obviously there’s a risk in any of these, but they weren’t anticipating him pulling a weapon on them,” Christensen said. “Unfortunately, when the officers were faced what they were faced with, they had no choice in their mind with what they needed to do.”
Still, Smith said she won’t be going home for a while.
“Not tonight, no. Definitely feel unsafe,” Smith said.
Christensen said relatives told investigators that Prough suffered from mental health problems.
Court records show Prough was charged in 2008 with assaulting a police officer, but was not prosecuted. In 2010, he faced a number of charges, including fleeing a police officer, false report of a bomb threat, felony firearms and assault with a dangerous weapon. He was found incompetent to stand trial in those cases.
Michigan State Police Crime Lab teams spent most of the day going through the apartment where Prough was shot. The case is being investigated by MSP’s 6th District out of Grand Rapids. Once the investigation is complete, it will be turned over to prosecutors, who will determine if the shooting was justified. That process usually takes two to three weeks.