Man accused of shooting hostage, 3 officers to stand trial

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A man accused of killing a hostage then shooting and injuring three police officers is heading to trial.

A judge on Monday ruled there’s probable cause to send William Paul Jones to trial after listening to several hours of testimony in his preliminary exam hearing.

Authorities say Jones was armed with two guns when he broke into a home in Comstock Township, holding Christopher Neal, Haley Coe and their toddler daughter hostage Dec. 1.

Coe gave birth to their son last month and testified Monday about her late husband, identifying Jones as the man who terrorized her family that night.

“He asked if any of the other doors were unlocked. He said they needed to be locked,” Coe said of the home invasion. “My husband asked if we could leave the home and he wouldn’t let us leave but insisted that all the doors be locked with us inside.”

Coe said he did not verbally say he was going to hurt anyone, but she knew it was possible from his body language.

“He pointed a gun at me a few times. He had one in each hand and he was waving the whole entire time,” Coe said in court.

It was while they were locked inside that several agencies responded to their Comstock Township home.

The chaotic and dangerous hostage situation was captured through several body cameras.

Sgt. James Dunlop, with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, was the crime scene investigator assigned to the case. 

It was body camera video that helped him piece together how the altercation turned deadly, he said on the stand, describing five volleys of gunfire during the police response.

Forensic Pathologist Dr. Brandy Shattuck testified Neal died from being shot in the head. 

It was a bullet during that second round of gunfire in the home that grazed Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Deputy Noah Susick’s head, Dunlop testified.

Susick also testified Monday.

He didn’t notice the wound until after he transported Jones to the hospital and went to clean up in a bathroom.

“I noticed a hole in my winter hat, in the top left portion of it,” Susick testified. “There was blood that was coming down around my eye at that time. I lifted up the hat and noticed I had a graze taken out of the side of my head.”

Two other officers who responded, a Kalamazoo pubic safety officer and Michigan State Police trooper, were also shot during the response.

“I was able to walk out in my own, but Deputy Susick was able to grab onto me and push me out the door basically,” Trooper Mark Fletcher testified of being hit in left knee.

He also recounted being transported to the hospital with Caleb Jones, the Kalamazoo officer shot in the shoulder.

“While we were in route I was able to turn around and apply pressure on his shoulder wound,” Fletcher testified.

The judge ordered Jones’ case move to circuit court on 19 counts: open murder; felony murder; three counts of assault with intent to commit murder; first-degree home invasion; unlawful imprisonment; being a felon in possession of a firearm; being a felon in possession of ammunition; assaulting, resisting and obstructing an officer; and nine counts of felony firearm.

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