WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Two Wyoming Department of Public Safety officers are on paid administrative leave while Kent County sheriff’s detectives investigate what led to those officers firing their weapons at a suspect Wednesday morning.
It’s standard procedure to put officers on paid leave after they are involved in a shooting.
Authorities say that just after 1 a.m., the two officers responded to a domestic disturbance call at Timber Ridge Apartments on 44th Street near and Byron Center Avenue. There was apparently a brief standoff and the officers fired shots.
A suspect is in custody and expected to be charged with felonious assault and resisting and obstructing. Both are felonies. The latter is likely the result of ignoring an officer’s commands.
No one was injured in the shooting.
“We do still investigate all of the circumstances surrounding it, and make sure the officers’ actions were compliant with department policy and the law,” Kent County Undersheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said.
On Wednesday afternoon, broken glass from the front door of building 4330 at the complex was the most visible remnant of the trouble. Kent County Sheriff’s Department investigators were still collecting evidence from the building hours after the incident.
Investigators still don’t know who fired first shot or why. That’s partially because investigators from the sheriff’s department, which handles all officer-involved shooting cases for Wyoming and other area departments, has yet to talk to the two officers who fired their weapons.
“The officers need to have a couple of sleep cycles. They need to have some time to gather their thoughts,” Young said. “There’s a substantial amount of research that shows that police officers’ statements are much fuller and more accurate when officers have had time to gather their thoughts.”
Young says several factors play a role in potential memory gaps: There’s the stress of having to respond to a dangerous call, the stress of an immediate threat to their safety and the public’s safety, and the trauma involved in pulling the trigger.
“They also the role of a private citizen where they have a right to an attorney. They have a right to have legal advice as they’re making these statements,” Young said.
Most union contracts also require a waiting period.
After investigators talk to the officers, the suspect and any other witnesses, they’ll turn their findings to the prosecutor’s office, which will decide if the gunfire was justified.
**CORRECTION: It was previously reported that when officers arrived on scene they found people arguing in the street. That was incorrect. The text has been updated. We apologize for the error.