Grand Rapids

Mom of Eastown murder victim sues officers, deputies

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The mother of a Grand Valley State University student who was the victim of a murder-suicide in Eastown is suing five officers and the 21-year-old suspect’s father.

In the 27-page lawsuit, Pamela Reilly lists numerous times she said her 21-year-old daughter, Rosemarie Reilly, complained to authorities about her ex-boyfriend Jeremy Kelley’s stalking, harassment, threats and abuse, but was never arrested.

“The Defendants affirmative actions are outrageous and shock the conscience,” states the wrongful death lawsuit, which was filed in Grand Rapids’ federal court Friday.

Those accused of wrongful conduct and gross negligence include Officer Brandon Tubergen, Sgt. Dennis Luce and Sgt. Chris Dill of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office; Officer Collin Wallace and Capt. Brandon DeHaan of the GVSU police department; and Bloomfield Township Officer Sean Kelley, whose son shot and killed Rosemarie Reilly.

The lawsuit claims that officers knew Jeremy Kelley repeatedly violated the personal protection order Reilly's daughter took out.

"She (Rosemarie Reilly) played by all the rules," the family's attorney Jim Rasor told 24 Hour News 8 via FaceTime Monday. "She got the PPO. She made the police report. She did the things she was supposed to do. Why didn't the police do the job that they're supposed to do to protect her and to protect all of us?"

Though authorities “put Jeremy on notice” to stay away, they refrained from arresting him on four separate occasions, it claims.

"He (Jeremy Kelley) did exactly what he had promised to do," Rasor said. "He went and he found her and he shot her dead and he killed himself."

The lengthy suit document alleges that Sean Kelley spoke with the local officers, who in turn did not arrest or seize his son’s guns.

The allegations claim that “boldened Jeremy’s belief that ‘nothing was going to happen’ (to) him, which in turn led to Rosemarie’s death.”

The deadly shooting happened around 3 a.m. on Nov. 6, 2016 – about six weeks after the relationship ended, and a month after Jeremy Kelley was hospitalized for attempted suicide, according to the lawsuit.

Pamela Reilly said when Jeremy Kelly contacted her daughter threatening to shoot himself around Oct. 6, 2016, Rosemarie Reilly reached out to Jeremy Kelley’s dad, who tracked his phone so police could find him.

The lawsuit claims that Jeremy Kelley stalked and harassed Rosemarie in the months following Kelley's suicide attempt.

Rosemarie had reportedly started staying at a friend’s apartment and a relative’s house to avoid her ex-boyfriend.

The lawsuit says Jeremy Kelley went so far as to pretend to be Rosemarie Reilly’s boss over the phone so he could contact his ex-girlfriend. Around the same time as that call, Pamela Reilly said Rosemarie got into an argument with Jeremy Kelly, who blocked her from leaving and repeatedly punched her, leaving her with a broken nose and bruises.

In the three days following the alleged attack, the lawsuit says Jeremy Kelly called Pamela Reilly's daughter’s phone approximately 43 times, repeatedly showed up at the house Rosemarie Reilly was staying at, and called the home, threatening suicide.

Rosemarie Reilly’s uncle called 911 after the suicide threat and reported Jeremy Kelley’s actions to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, the lawsuit states. In the lawsuit, she said an officer contacted Jeremy by phone, but took no further action.

A day after the alleged threat, that lawsuit describes Jeremy Kelley visited GVSU’s campus and jumped in front of her daughter’s car, pounding on its window and head-butting the vehicle.

It was around that time that Rosemarie contacted GVSU police and filed a report with Wallace about Jeremy Kelley, the lawsuit states.

Wallace contacted the sheriff’s office, who sent Dill out to give her daughter paperwork to file a personal protection order. Wallace also filled out a “no trespassing” form for Jeremy Reilly and an incident report, all according to the lawsuit.

Pamela Reilly said Tubergen visited Jeremy Kelley’s home around Oct. 13 and told him to leave Rosemarie alone, based on her daughter’s desire to file the PPO. However, Pamela Reilly said Tubergen told her nothing could be done to prevent Jeremy Kelley from calling her daughter, and that Jeremy was legally allowed to own his guns.

He also said he was “well aware” Jeremy’s father was a police officer, Pamela Reilly stated in the lawsuit.

He said Rosemarie needed to file a report about the incident in which Jeremy Kelley held a gun to her head and threatened to kill her with it. Rosemarie did so, the lawsuit states.

However, even after the no trespassing order and PPO were granted, Jeremy Kelley continued to follow Rosemarie on campus and call her phone, according to her mother.

Pamela Reilly said in a phone call around Oct. 20, 2016, Jeremy Kelley’s father called her and her daughter a liar and told her to stop calling the police about his son. She said that next week, Jeremy Kelley told her daughter that his father had spoken to local police and that “nothing was going to happen” to him for violating the PPO.

Around Oct. 22, 2016, Rosemarie contacted Wallace to tell him the PPO had been granted, but since then, Jeremy Kelley had called her phone 86 times and repeatedly emailed her. 

About six days later, a warrant was issued for Jeremy Kelley’s arrest, and mailed to his home. A second arrest warrant was issued around Nov. 2, 2016,  based on the alleged stalking at GVSU, the lawsuit lays out.

In a phone call on the eve of the murder-suicide, Jeremy Kelley told a relative of his ex-girlfriend he was with his brother in Muskegon and would not be able to come open a Grand Rapids garage so she could get her belongings, the lawsuit reads.

The lawsuit claims that either Jeremey’s father or one of the officers she named in the lawsuit told Jeremy Kelley about his arrest warrant for domestic violence at that time, “but did not effectuate his arrest.”

Hours later, Jeremy Kelley found Rosemarie at a friend’s house in the 1400 block of Lake Drive SE, dragged her from the home by her hair, shot her multiple times in the torso as she tried to run back into the house, then turned the gun on himself, according to the lawsuit.

Rosemarie died at the scene. Jeremy Kelley died at the hospital.

Pamela Reilly is seeking reimbursement for the cost of burying her daughter, legal fees, as well as for pain and suffering.

24 Hour News 8 has reached out to Grand Valley State University, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and the county for a response to the lawsuit. GVSU issued this statement:

"Grand Valley State University is not named in the lawsuit. It is a suit against Ottawa County and individually named law enforcement officers, two of whom were employed by Grand Valley. We believe our officers acted properly, and we will mount their defense."

County officials said they cannot comment at this time because their lawyers are currently unavailable; the sheriff’s office has not yet returned our messages.


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