KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - An unarmed man killed by officers last week gave his friend four firearms before being summoned to the Kalamazoo hotel where officers shot him, the friend said.
Police haven't released much new information about the Jan, 24 incident that left 34-year-old Jacob Grassley dead. But his good friend, Mark Hayward, told 24 Hour News 8 that just hours before the shooting Grassley came to see him and asked him to hold several guns.
Hayward returned around 8:15 p.m. Jan. 24 from running errands to his business -- Hayward Marl & Lime in Vicksburg. His friend, Grassley, was waiting for him. Hayward said he had known Jacob Grassley for two or three years and has been to his house a half dozen times or so on social occasions.
"When he was with me, he was very calm, cool, collected. He was coherent. I could tell he hadn't been drinking or anything," said Hayward.
The two men made small talk at first, discussing business. Then Grassley admitted he had just argued with his girlfriend, who he referred to as his wife, over plans for the couple's 2-year-old child's birthday. The couple were also under a lot of stress because of finances, Hayward said, as Grassley had recently lost a job, was starting a new business and they were in the process of moving.
Hayward said the couple considered themselves married, though they may not have been legally.
Grassley said he had hit her with a cardboard paper towel roll and that police were looking for him.
Hayward said that behavior was out of character for Grassley.
"He's an easy-going guy. He's not the type of person to get in a fight or be violent or anything," said Hayward.
Then Grassley asked Hayward to hold on to some firearms. Hayward said he thinks Grassley asked him to hold the guns because Grassley was worried police would take them if he turned himself in.
"The guns that I stored for him was a SKS-47 with a 10-shot clip that wasn't removable -- it was a permanent clip -- and a .22 semiautomatic rifle that did have a detachable clip, a 12-gauge Mossberg pump, and a Glock 9mm pistol," said Hayward.
Hayward told 24 Hour News 8 he stored the weapons in a gun safe.
Grassley said he still had a pistol in the trunk. Hayward advised him to unload it and take it apart before he left.
"And I told him he has to call his wife first before he goes home and see if things have settled down or whatever, and he left and said that's what he was going to do, and that was the last time that I ever talked to him," said Hayward.
About two hours, a police chase and a confrontation with three or four Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officers later, Grassley was shot on the second floor of the Best Western Hospitality Inn. He died at a hospital.
In later conversations with Grassley's girlfriend, Hayward learned she was the one who summoned Grassley to the hotel while talking to him on his cellphone.
"Police had actually hid her at this hotel under an assumed name, and she said, 'Come talk to me at the Best Western hotel,'" said Hayward. "Then she immediately got on the phone with police and said, 'My husband is coming here just to talk to me, please don't harm him.' It all happened all at the same time."
Hayward still has questions about the police chase and what took place inside the hotel. He would like police to release any surveillance video they have to clear up why Grassley was shot.
Hayward says according to Grassley's girlfriend, police obtained warrants and searched Grassley's house the morning following the shooting, looking for evidence including weapons or drugs.
Hayward said he returned Grassley's guns to his wife on Saturday. Grassley's wife told him she shipped the guns to Ohio, where she plans on moving soon.
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