Argument over ‘loud party’ leads to deadly shooting

Kent County

GRATTAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Kent County authorities say a shooting that killed a Belding man and wounded his nephew stemmed from complaints about a loud party and reckless driving.

It happened around 1:30 a.m. Sunday along Big Pine Island Lake in the 7300 block of Parle Avenue NE, east of the Grattan Raceway in Grattan Township. 

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office says a neighbor complained about the party and driving, which led to an argument and shooting at his home.

One bullet was fired, hitting 44-year-old Robert Morgan and his nephew, 22-year-old Jacob Vanenk of Lowell. Morgan died at the hospital; Vanenk is expected to recover.

Authorities are not releasing the shooter’s name, but say he is cooperating with their investigation, and there is no threat to the public in this case.

So far, no one has been arrested.

“There were statements that left us to believe that there was more that had to be investigated,” said Kent County Undersheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young.

One possibility: the shooting was in self-defense.

“Certainly that’s going to be one of the avenues that we’ll approach in the investigation. Certainly we need to vet whether or not that was an issue,” the undersheriff said Monday.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department pointed out that police were never contacted to resolve the complaint that led to the shooting.

Detectives plan to interview more witnesses and review physical evidence before sending the case onto the prosecutor’s office.

“The prosecutor is responsible to take all the situation that happened and evaluate it in the context of the law, and make a determination if there was an illegal act or if what happened was justified, or anything in between,” explained LaJoye-Young.

The family of the man killed in the shooting did not want to comment Monday. When 24 Hour News 8 tried talking to the family that lives near where the shooting happened, our crew was asked to leave the property.

Anyone with information in this case is asked to call the Kent County Sheriff’s Department at 616.632.6100 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

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