KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - Authorities arrested a 19-year-old man who they say fired gunshots into the air in a crowd of about 200 people near the Western Michigan University campus.
Police said no one was hurt in the incident in the 2900 block of W. Michigan Avenue around 1:30 a.m. Sunday.
Patrick Russell was arraigned Monday on charges of reckless discharge of a firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm, obstructing police, and possession of a stolen handgun. He could spend some time in prison if he is convicted. His criminal history started when he was 14 years old and includes such crimes as assault, drugs and resisting police.
Kalamazoo authorities said since it is the beginning of the semester, they have been dealing with Dumpster fires, parties and assaults for the past few weekends; because of that, they had extra patrols out in the area Saturday night.
Officers were addressing the crowd of about 200 people in a parking lot, mostly students, when the suspect pulled out a handgun and fired three shots into the air.
"People just started bookin' it, like getting out of there as fast as they could," eyewitness Will Blanchard said.
"The officer saw him do it. [The suspect] just pulled the gun out, put it in the air and started shooting off. He shot off three rounds," Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Lt. David Boysen said.
Lt. Boysen said the crowd scattered, and with the help of some witnesses, two officers chased and caught the Russell.
"He saw the officers then ran. The officers chased after him and lost sight of him for a short period of time and then witnesses pointed out where he was hiding, in some bushes, and the officers apprehended him," Lt. Boysen said.
Lt. Boysen said Russell threw a .38 caliber revolver under a car. The weapon was stolen from its owner in Parchment.
Witnesses said it was consistent police presence that allowed authorities to respond within seconds.
"They're always right here. That's the best thing about it. It's inconvenient for students sometimes but I mean, they're really keeping it safer I guess," Blanchard said.
Public safety officers also arrested one of the Russell's acquaintances after taking Russell into custody. They arrested the other man for interfering with their investigation by trying to lead officers in the wrong direction during the chase for Russell.
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