BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A Battle Creek man took his own life at the same time an officer opened fire on him Wednesday afternoon, police say.
The man who died was identified as Kamren Brown, 27.
During a Thursday afternoon press conference, Battle Creek Police Department Chief Jim Blocker said a woman called 911 at 3:55 p.m. Wednesday, reporting that Brown, who she knew through “ongoing problems with the family,” was banging on her door with a handgun. She said she was afraid he was trying to break in and hurt her.
“It wasn’t just a random act of violence because we do know enough to know that the caller understood who it was,” Blocker said.
Officers were dispatched at 4:01 p.m. While they were headed to the scene along South Avenue near Fountain Street, just west of Main Street, the caller told the 911 dispatcher that Brown had broken out a back window. The dispatcher could hear screaming in the background.
BODYCAM SHOWS BROWN PULL GUN
Brown took off. Body camera video played at the press conference shows a responding officer spotted Brown at 4:05 p.m. and repeatedly shouted at him to stop. Brown ran away so the officer gave chase, pulling his gun.
After a foot chase of about 100 yards and less than 30 seconds, Brown did stop, dropping to his knees on the opposite side of a short chain-link fence from the officer, who by this point had pulled his gun.
“Get your (expletive edited out) hands up,” the officer can be heard saying in the bodycam video.
“I’m not (unintelligible) moving,” Brown replied.
“Get your hands up,” the officer repeated.
“I’m not getting no hands up,” Brown said.
“I want to help you, man,” the officer said. “I’ve got to figure out what’s going on.”
The officer holstered his gun. He told Brown to stand up, but he wouldn’t. As the officer grabbed Brown’s arm and tried to pull him back to his side of the fence, he saw Brown pull a gun from his left front pocket. The officer backed off, pulled his gun again and reported over his radio that Brown was armed, at which point police say Brown shot himself.
At the same time, the officer pulled his gun and also fired one shot.
The video played at the press conference did not include images of the moment shots were fired, but it did include audio of the gunshots.
“He shot himself,” the officer can be heard reporting over his radio.
Chief Blocker said the officer started CPR, but it was too late. Brown died at the scene.
Blocker said a preliminary autopsy showed Brown died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and that he also sustained a gunshot wound to the leg.
The officer wasn’t hurt.
From the moment the officer spotted Brown and told him to stop to the moment shots were fired, 61 seconds passed.
RECORDS: BROWN HAD HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
“We understand in these chaotic moments… in these calls… that these are culminating events because there’s a whole lot that went on prior to this incident and throughout the day and months before,” Blocker said. “I think that’s something we have to have a better understanding of. Assuredly, we’re going to get to that.”
A neighbor near where it happened told News 8 that Brown actually went to her house first, but she wasn’t home. She was filled in on what had happened when she arrived home and saw several police cruisers.
“Someone was beating on my door with the butt of a gun,” the woman, who asked that her name not be used, said. “It was loud enough to where my neighbors heard the noise.”
She said her neighbor looked out her window and saw Brown.
“(Brown) definitely knew that this house wasn’t the house (he was) after, I guess,” the homeowner said. “Then (he) jumped over my rail on my porch and started knocking on the neighbor’s windows with the gun.”
She said her neighbor then ran upstairs with her kids and called 911.
Brown had a long criminal history, but court records show he avoided conviction three times in the last three years. He was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon in 2019 and assault to do great bodily harm in both 2020 and 2021. Every case was dropped due to a lack of witnesses.
Police say the gun he used to shoot himself, a Smith & Wesson .380 semiautomatic handgun, had been reported stolen out of Indiana.
OFFICER HANDLED SITUATION WELL, CHIEF SAYS
The officer, a 22-year-old who has been a patrol officer for two years, has been placed on paid administrative leave while Michigan State Police investigate and while an internal BCPD investigation is underway. That is all standard procedure anytime an officer is involved in a shooting. While Blocker did release the officer’s name, News 8 is not using it because he is not accused of killing Brown or a crime.
Blocker said the department will work to provide support for the officer.
“You’re seeing really a culminating event of both a person at probably the worst moment in their life, but you’re also seeing an officer at probably one of the most traumatic points in his life,” the chief said. “We have a 22-year-old officer that’s going to have to deal with what he saw and how he reacted.”
He said he was impressed by the officer’s behavior throughout the situation.
“It was mature, it was professional. Frankly, there was signs of empathy,” Blocker said. “But again, at that point, I think Mr. Brown was beyond that.”