GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man has been charged with attempted murder after police say officers saw him shoot his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend in the chest, according to court documents.

James Lawrence Lewis was arraigned Tuesday on charges of assault with intent to murder, first-degree home invasion, being a felon in possession of a firearm and committing a felony with a firearm. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

“This very well could have turned deadly,” GRPD Chief Eric Winstrom said, describing the shooting as “pretty much point-blank.” “If just by a few millimeters this bullet had gone in a different direction, this would have been tragic and deadly…”

The shooting happened Sunday around 9:40 p.m. at an address on Alto Avenue near Alexander Street. Grand Rapids Police Department officers were originally called to the area on reports of 10 gunshots heard near the home.

When they arrived, they found a female crying while walking to a car in the driveway. She told officers that her ex-boyfriend, Lewis, and current boyfriend were arguing and said there “might be” weapons involved. When officers asked if shots had been fired, she told them “not yet,” according to the court documents.

Officers said they took the woman down the block to get more information. She told them that Lewis, who did not live at the home, showed up, wanting to talk to her current boyfriend, who was sleeping inside. The woman went inside to wake him up. She said Lewis started following her up the stairs.

As she told officers her story, the door to the Alto Avenue home opened. The woman’s new boyfriend walked onto the porch. Police allege that in seconds, Lewis came out and fired repeatedly.

“(One officer’s) report indicates seconds after the victim exited the residence the defendant emerged from the doorway with an arm raised toward the victim’s back,” the court document reads in part. “(The officer) indicates he simultaneously observed muzzle flash from a firearm and heard the sound of approximately four gunshots.”

The officers heard the victim shout, “I’m hit!” He ran toward officers with blood coming from his chest. They started first aid.

“They put a chest seal on the man. He had been shot in the chest, a very critical injury,” Chief Winstrom told News 8 Wednesday afternoon. “They made the judgment that it would be quicker and safer to get this man immediately to the hospital, so they put him in the back of the police car and drove him, lights and sirens, to the hospital.”

He said the victim was expected to make a full recovery.

A Jan. 16, 2023, booking photo of James Lewis from the Kent County Correctional Facility.
A Jan. 16, 2023, booking photo of James Lewis from the Kent County Correctional Facility.

After the shooting, Lewis backed into the home and shut the door, the court documents said. That’s when police established a perimeter and a standoff began.

“We surrounded the house. We took our time, called our negotiators…” Winstrom said. “We really slowed the thing down, we took our time, we developed that communication with him (the suspect).”

After two hours, Lewis dropped his gun out the window and gave himself up.

He is being held on $250,000 bond cash or surety. He is scheduled to be back in court on Jan. 31 for a probable cause conference.

Winstrom said there has been a surge in domestic violence-related killings in the past few years. Some have linked that increase to hardships caused by the pandemic and related lockdowns. He urged anyone in a relationship that may become violent to call 211 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.7233.