GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - In the hours after Gabriel Hood was shot by a Grand Rapidspolice officer after he said Hood pulled a gun on him, a visiblyupset GRPD Police Chief Kevin Belk spoke out on state policiesregarding parolees.
"We're concerned," Belk said Thursday as he stood yards fromwhere the officer shot Hood. "We've seen that the state of Michigancontinues to release people on parole at an alarming rate."
One week later, Target 8 investigators have tracked the lastmonths of Hood's life.
Despite parole violations and a number of contacts with police,the state failed to get Hood back behind bars. A rare look insidethe system that handles parolees provides an answer to why Hood wasout of prison.
Our investigation found there are more parolees on the streetstoday and Hood would have been sent back to prison if the state didthings the old way.
But in 1998, long before the current budget crisis, theDepartment of Corrections started making those decisions on acase-by-case basis.
Corrections officials say the one-size-fits-all approach toautomatically revoking an offender's parole for any violationwasn't working.
Now, a parolee returns to prison if he commits multipleviolations or an act that's considered a "threat to the generalpublic," according to department spokesman John Cordell.
More than 13,000 prisoners were paroled in 2000, Cordell said.That number jumped to more than 20,000 by 2009, which helps explainwhy Hood was on the street when the officer shot and killed himThursday.
Released from prison in 2008, Hood would have been off parole inFebruary if he hadn't started violating his terms in October 2009.
And despite at least two contacts with police after thoseviolations last fall, Hood still was a free man. The details of hisviolations explain why.
Early on, Hood had stayed out of trouble. On April 15, 2009, acheck of the Law Enforcement Information Network by his paroleoffice showed just that. On Sept. 17, he had another cleancheck.
Hood had a job, was attending school and wasn't using drugs,corrections officials say.
But a couple weeks later, on Sept. 30, Kent County deputiespicked Hood up on a parole violation. He was out after curfew andhad been drinking. The sheriff's department notifiedcorrections.
The next day, deputies were called to a Cascade Township hotelon a domestic assault complaint. Hood was the suspect, but he tookoff before officers arrived. A judge put out a warrant for Hoodwith a $500 bond attached and the requirement was for Hood toreport to his parole officer.
On Oct. 22, Wyoming police made a traffic stop and found Hood inthe vehicle. The officer ran Hood's name and found the warrant.Hood payed the $500 bond and was released. The Wyoming officer didnot notify the DOC.
But the department said that was a nonissue. If every officercalled in every time he or she came across a parolee during atraffic stop, "it would inundate the system," Cordell said.
Hood did show up for his arraignment on the domestic assaultcharge and was ordered by the judge to report to his probationofficer. On Oct. 15, Hood called his officer to set up a meeting,but never showed up.
That's when the DOC considered Hood a fugitive, and turned hiscase over to the absconder unit.
Days later, on Oct. 21, Grand Rapids police with their gunsdrawn searched a neighborhood west of Division for a man witnessessay flashed a gun during a road rage incident.
The man later was identified as Hood. He bailed from a ChevyAvalanche after flashing the gun, witnesses said.
GRPD notified the DOC of the incident, Cordell said.
On Dec. 15, the absconder unit received a tip on Hood'swhereabouts. Representatives visited the home of his girlfriend,but he was not there. The search continued.
Cordell said everyone -- from the DOC to the police agenciesthat had contact with Hood -- took appropriate actions.
On March 18, the search for Hood ended when he was shot by GRPDOfficer Donald Lake.
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