Kalamazoo Co. prosecutor: KDPS sergeant justified in May shooting

Kalamazoo County

This still image from body camera footage shows the second before a Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety sergeant shot and wounded a man on May 21, 201.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kalamazoo sergeant was justified in shooting a man on May 21, the county prosecutor has ruled.

The decision from Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting means that the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety sergeant will not face criminal charges in connection to the shooting of W.D. Trice Jr.

For that reason, News 8 is not using the sergeant’s name.

The shooting happened around 2 a.m. on Florence Street near Woodbury Avenue. The prosecutor’s office noted that this is a “high crime area.”

The KDPS sergeant was patrolling the area in response to a shooting that happened a few hours earlier, around 11 p.m., in that area.

The sergeant saw what looked like a heated confrontation in a front yard, the prosecutor’s office said.

He parked his marked police car and walked toward the confrontation.

As he was walking toward the group, a man told him, “He got a gun in his hand,” the prosecutor’s office said.

The sergeant saw the gun in Trice’s hand, and told him to drop it. Trice did not, instead turning toward the sergeant with the gun in still in his hand, the prosecutor’s office said.

It was at this point that the sergeant shot him, hitting Trice in the hip.

Trice was brought to a local hospital and was treated for the gun shot. He had a bodily alcohol content of .16% according to lab results, the prosecutor’s office said.

Photos released by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety show the gun they say Trice was carrying before being shot by a police officer in the early hours of May 21, 2021. The gun is a Taurus 9mm semi-automatic, the prosecutor’s office said, with a 33-shot magazine. It was loaded with 12 rounds at the time.

At the request of KDPS, Michigan State Police investigated the shooting.

It found that the gun Trice was holding belong to a woman who lived there, the mother of three of Trice’s children.

The gun owner, two of her brothers and Trice had all been drinking, she told MSP. A heated argument began, at which point she grabbed the gun and told Trice to leave.

The gun was a Taurus 9mm semi-automatic, the prosecutor’s office said, with a 33-shot magazine. It was loaded with 12 rounds at the time.

Just as the KDPS sergeant was arriving, Trice grabbed the gun, Trice told investigators.

The gunowner said she heard the sergeant yell, “put the gun down” before he shot Trice.

Body camera video confirms what the sergeant told investigators, the prosecutor’s office said.

The sergeant acted in self-defense, the prosecutor said.

In his decision, Getting noted that the sergeant had extensive training, including trainings in de-escalation and use of force.

“The action taken by (the sergeant) was immediately necessary to protect himself and others from the danger posed by Mr. Trice,” Getting wrote in his decision. “His actions may have saved his life and the life of others.”

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