GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Michigan State Police report into the fatal shooting of a driver by an Allegan County sheriff’s deputy shows that the driver was impaired at the time of the shooting and had been acting oddly earlier in the day.
MSP, which is investigating the shooting, said the deputy pulled over 22-year-old Joseph Nagle’s vehicle near Hopkins on June 16 for suspicion of impaired driving. Nagle showed signs of impairment during sobriety tests and started to fight with the deputy when he was told he was under arrest, officers said. During the altercation, MSP said, the deputy shot him once in the chest.
Nagle died of a a gunshot wound to the chest and the manner of death was homicide, the medical examiner ruled. A toxicology report showed that Nagle had THC — the psychoactive chemical in marijuana — and cocaine/metabolites in his system at the time of his death.
When officers searched Nagle’s vehicle, they found a red folding knife in the open position between the passenger seat and the door of Nagle’s car.
His mother told investigators that she believed his behavior had been influenced by drugs and she had recently noticed personality changes that she linked to possible drug use. She said that the only reason family could think of for Nagle, who lived in Comstock Park, to be in the Hopkins area was for “something to do with drugs.”
One person investigators talked with said that Nagle had been in a “downward spiral” since his dad died a couple of years ago. She said that he had been using cocaine and meth as well as selling cocaine, the report said.
Nagle was a wrestler in high school and had “several undefeated seasons,” his mother said. According to the report, she told investigators that when she heard he had been shot by an officer, “her first reaction was surprised that the officer was able to get away from Joseph because once he grabbed on to someone they could not usually get away.”
A former wrestling teammate told investigators that he had recently hung out with Nagle at a Grand Rapids lounge. While they were together, Nagle was acting very strange and kept offering them cocaine. The former teammate said that Nagle was upset at their continued refusals to take any.
“Joseph was saying all sorts of non-sensical statements about Kanye West and ‘being in purgatory.’ Joseph was also saying things that didn’t sound like actual words and was not making any sense from time to time,” Nagle’s former teammate said during an interview, the report said.
When investigators when through Nagle’s phone, they said they found photos of Nagle in a FedEx jacket. Videos showed him talking about using drugs.
A co-worker at FedEx also told investigators that Nagle had mentioned that he likes to use cocaine. The co-worker said that he believed that if Nagle thought he was going to get arrested the night he was shot, he might have fought with police because he knew he would lose his job.
Authorities said that there was an altercation between Nagle and the deputy. The MSP report shows that the deputy had a gouge behind his left ear, scratches on his neck, cuts on both hands, swelling of the face and a bloody nose after the altercation.
On June 17, investigators were told that a Kent County Sheriff’s Department dispatch supervisor learned from workers at a Grand Rapids coffee shop that they had had a strange encounter with a fill-in FedEx delivery driver, later determined to be Nagle, the same day he was shot, the MSP report said.
When investigators went to interview the employees, they learned that an adjacent Hallmark store had a similarly strange encounter. The workers told investigators that Nagle was dropping off a large box and a small box for delivery. While outside, he accidentally dropped the larger box. Once inside, he dropped the packages next to the checkout counter and said he had more packages. The co-owner told him that deliveries go to the rear of the building. He replied by saying the only way he would bring them to the back of the store was if the female employees would lift their shirts.
After the encounter, the workers said they saw Nagle’s photo on Facebook and in the news and knew that he was the fill-in FedEx driver, the report said. Video from the Hallmark store confirmed Nagle was the delivery driver, the report said.
It’s standard procedure for law enforcement departments to call in MSP or another third-party agency to investigate an officer’s deadly use of force. Allegan County Prosecutor Myrene Koch has yet to decide whether the officer was justified in shooting Nagle or whether charges are warranted.
~ News 8 reporter Kyle Mitchell contributed to this report.