Capt.: Man charged with murder thought gun was unloaded

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety says a man is facing open murder charges following a shooting at his home Monday night.

Police say 23-year-old John Jacob Spangenberg admits to pulling the trigger and killing 21-year-old McKenna Dutkiewicz of Wayland.

Undated courtesy photo of McKenna Dutkiewicz of Wayland.
Undated courtesy photo of McKenna Dutkiewicz of Wayland.

Spangenberg was formally charged Thursday by a judge with the Kalamazoo County 8th District Court.

KDPS Capt. Craig Habel says Spangenberg told police he thought the gun was unloaded.

“He indicated that he had been in his own words ‘playing with the gun’ earlier in the day. He owned a 9mm handgun. He had been racking the slide without the magazine in it and pulling the trigger,” Habel said.

The shooting happened around 10 p.m. Monday at the suspect’s apartment on the 1300 block of Jack Pine Way in Kalamazoo. Police say it happened during a gathering Spangenberg was holding at his apartment and witnesses were inside when the shooting occurred.

The apartment police say John Jacob Spangenberg shot and killed McKenna Dutkiewicz on May 29, 2020.
The apartment police say John Jacob Spangenberg shot and killed McKenna Dutkiewicz on June 1, 2020.

“A couple people (were) at the apartment but one was right in the same room and had observed it,” Habel said.

Police say Dutkiewicz asked Spangenberg to stop.

“He thought it was funny and he continued to do it and eventually lost track of whether he had the magazine in, unfortunately, into the weapon and he did and said he just racked the slide quickly and pulled the trigger like he had done several times and then the gun went off. It was pointed right at her,” Habel said.

Officers say the suspect is very remorseful and cooperating with the investigation.

“He actually called 911 and had reported that he had shot somebody,” Habel said.

KDPS wants gun owners to understand the danger and responsibility of owning a firearm.

“People just need to realize that firearms are not toys. There’s a purpose for them and they should be handled with the utmost care,” Habel said.

KDPS officers and paramedics tried to save Dutkiewicz, but she could not recover and was pronounced dead at 10:22 p.m. Monday.

The next court date for Spangenberg is scheduled for June 23.

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