ALBION, Mich. (WOOD) — A man was shot and killed by an Albion police officer Wednesday night after police say he broke into a relative’s home and then raised a gun toward officers.
He was identified as Jason Elliotte Dodds, 42, of Albion.
The shooting happened around 6:30 p.m. at a home on N. Eaton Street near W. Chestnut Street. The Albion Department of Public Safety says officers were sent there on a report of a man who was threatening a relative at the relative’s home. Police say Dodds eventually broke into the home. The relative took off, but there were other people in the home.
“There were two children in the house, one autistic child. I’m not sure their ages exactly, but they were in the house when the shooting occurred,” Albion DPS Chief Scott Kipp said, adding both are OK.
Three officers, including two from a crisis intervention team, arrived and confronted Dodds in the living room.
“He had his back to the officers. The officers saw the gun, ordered him to drop it. Seconds, as quick as it could happen, he turned and started to lift his arm and the officer fired two rounds,” Kipp said.
Kipp said officers started CPR and Dodds was taken to a hospital in Jackson, where he died Wednesday night.
“I think Mr. Dodds has struggled throughout his life with mental health issues. I’m sure that plays a big part in some of these (previous criminal) charges,” Kipp said Thursday. “…Which is sad to say that we can’t get him the help that he actually needed to get. So (that’s) where we got to this point.”
Family told police earlier Wednesday, before the shooting, that Dodds was “having psychological issues and was taking psychological medication and drinking” and that he was “irrational.” They said he wanted to kill a relative with whom he fought weeks earlier. When police got that warning, they put out an alert to surrounding agencies but could not find him.
Neighbor Orban Mann said he and his wife were in their home when the shooting happened.
“Our daughter and grandbaby were going up to the store,” Mann said. “They pulled out of the driveway, they came back and said, ‘The police had just stopped over at the house over there and ran in there with their guns out.'”
Mann and his wife went outside. About a minute later, he said, “The policeman came out and ran to grab his emergency bag and went back in.
“And still wasn’t for sure what was going on until the police start showing up about 10 minutes later, and they (were) all over,” he continued.
Mann said he did not hear any gunfire but added that there were shots fired at the house once at an earlier time.
“About a week or something like that before that, they were shooting over there. They had a party,” Mann explained. “I don’t know what happened, but nobody got shot then.”
Albion police say that shots fired incident is not related to the fight they say Dodds was retaliating against his cousin for. That happened at the Marriott hotel in downtown Albion in the early morning hours of May 29. Officers say Dodds, who was armed with a knife, lunged at his cousin several times while confronting him about an unspecified personal matter. To defend himself, the cousin hit Dodds several times with a broomstick. He was taken to the hospital with serious injuries to his head and face.
Court records show Dodds had a criminal history in Calhoun County dating back to 1997 that includes charges of assaulting, resisting or obstructing police; assault and battery; and multiple counts of domestic violence.
When he learned the details of what happened, Mann said he and his family are in shock but relieved that their neighbors are OK.
“They seem… to be pretty good people. Never had no trouble with them,” Mann said. “Then, this here happened, and this caught everyone by surprise.”
The officer is on paid administrative leave and Michigan State Police have been called in to investigate the shooting, which is all standard procedure.
Part of the investigation will look into how Dodds got a gun.
“Obviously, when people are struggling with mental health issues, firearms are not the best things to be involved in that,” Kipp said.