Kentwood officer justified in fatally shooting man armed with knife

Kent County

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — The deadly shooting of a man by a Kentwood police officer in October has been deemed justified by the Kent County prosecutor.

Prosecutor Chris Becker announced Wednesday morning that the Kentwood Officer Tyler Smith was in the right to shoot and kill 60-year-old Kim Douglas Ropp on Oct. 24 at a home on Grantwood.

According to Smith’s police body camera, several officers responded to the home where Ropp, who was extremely drunk, was attacking fellow housemate Vincent Vallo with a knife. To prevent Ropp from hurting the other man, Smith first shot Ropp twice with with less-lethal rounds, but they had no effect.

When a third round hit Vallo, causing him to fall to the ground, officers saw blood on the knife. The prosecutor said body camera footage shows this.

Smith then told Ropp to “Drop the knife! Drop the knife! Drop it!” according to the footage. When he didn’t do this, Ropp gave Smith, what he describes as a “1000-yard-stare.” The prosecutor said that Smith’s training indicates that this look is consistent with someone who is emotionally detached from reality.

After being told to drop it, Ropp began to lift the knife up, at this point Smith fires the first shot.

“Given the small distance between Mr. Ropp, Officer Smith, and the other civilians in the home, there was an imminent threat of deadly forced posed by Mr. Ropp. Officer Smith was justifiably met that threat with deadly force when he decided to fire his weapon to stop him,” the prosecutor’s office said.

The prosecutor said an autopsy showed that Ropp’s blood alcohol was .29, almost four times the legal driving limit.

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