KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kalamazoo County sheriff’s deputy was justified in shooting and killing a stabbing suspect in December, the county prosecutor has ruled.
The Wednesday decision from Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting means that the deputy will not face criminal charges in connection to the death of Daniel Hopkins Russell.
For that reason, News 8 is not using the deputy’s name.
The shooting happened around 7:15 a.m. Dec. 18 at a home on Morningstar Way near North 9th Street and West H Avenue in Oshtemo Township. Michigan State Police said at the time that the deputy was sent there after Russell’s mother’s partner called 911, saying Russell had attacked both of them with a knife and that he was suicidal.
Russell’s mother and her partner sustained serious stab wounds, the prosecutor said, but both survived.
The prosecutor’s investigation says the first deputy who arrived on the scene looked through a front window and saw Russell was hurting himself. Russell, carrying a knife, then came outside. The deputy repeatedly told him to drop the knife, but Russell didn’t. The deputy drew his Taser and shocked Russell five times, but he still didn’t drop the knife. When Russell kept coming at the deputy, the deputy pulled his gun, warned Russell and then shot him three times.
Russell died at the scene. He was 38.
Though Russell had already stabbed and cut himself, including on his neck, a forensic pathologist found the gunshot wounds were what killed him.
The deputy involved had been a police officer for about 25 years when he killed Russell. The prosecutor said he has several commendations and also been trained several times in deescalating situations.
While Getting acknowledged that Russell had a history of mental illness and called his death “tragic and unfortunate,” the prosecutor also said that the deputy “acted in lawful self-defense of himself and others in his use of deadly force.”
“The actions of Mr. Russell posed an immediate and extreme threat of death or serious injury to the deputy and others,” Getting continued in a statement. “The deputy’s belief that Mr. Russell posed an immediate threat was both honest and reasonable.”