PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — A Portage man shot his wife and one of their children Tuesday night before turning the gun on himself, police say.
The dead were identified as Henry Bates, 39, 31-year-old Brianna Bates and their 6-year-old daughter Zenzia Bates.
“Sad day. Sad, sad day,” Portage Department of Public Safety Dirctor Nicholas Armold said overnight after their bodies were found. “Horrible night. Horrible week.”
Police also said three other children, ages 3, 11 and 13, were inside the house when the shooting happened but ran away.
Around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday, officers gathered outside a house split into apartments on Milham Avenue near Sprinkle Road after getting reports of a shooting. Police activated SWAT after officers got not response from inside one of the apartments, with Armold saying it was “totally silent.” After about two hours with no response to negotiators’ attempts to make contact, officers entered the home and found the couple and child dead.
“We were trying to see if we could get in there and rescue whoever was in there,” Armold said. “But unfortunately we were too late for that.”
He believed the surviving children were being cared for by a relative.
Kalamazoo County court records show Henry Bates was arrested for attacking his wife January and February of this year. In January, Brianna Bates said he threw his phone at her and punched her in the face and shoulder. In February, she said he punched her repeatedly in the face. Henry Bates was out on bond at the time and had violated the conditions of that bond by drinking, police say. Both domestic violence cases were ultimately dropped.
Court records show the couple was living separately in 2016 and at the time, Brianna Bates was grated sole custody of her children. But in the court records from earlier this year, they were living together in Kalamazoo.