Man accused of shooting BC officer in custody

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — After searching for him for more than 12 hours, authorities say the man accused of shooting a Battle Creek police officer is in custody.

Battle Creek Police Department says 30-year-old Andre Yarbrough was found at an apartment around 4:20 p.m. Saturday.

Officer Jeffrey Johnson, the officer who was shot, has substantial injuries, but he is expected to make a full recovery, Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker said.

Investigators say a Silent Observer tip sent police to the apartment. A K-9 searched the apartment and found Yarbrough in a closet. He refused to come out, so the dog pulled him out, according to the BCPD.  

Officers say Yarbrough was then searched and handcuffed with Johnson’s handcuffs. He will be lodged in the Calhoun County Jail and charged with assault with intent. 

Officers responded to 310 Cherry St. in Battle Creek just after 1:15 a.m. Saturday, where children were heard screaming from the home, authorities said. Officers say they believe they saw Yarbrough, who has multiple warrants out of Calhoun and St. Joseph counties — including several for assault — inside the home. People at the house would not let officers inside.

Around 2:30 a.m., Yarbrough left the home, Blocker said. Johnson approached him and gunfire was exchanged. Johnson was shot once in the leg, hitting his femur; once in the chest, where the bullet lodged in his bullet-proof vest; and once in the wrist.

(The home where Battle Creek police officer Jeffery Johnson was shot multiple times early Saturday morning.)

Police believe Johnson fell to the ground after he was shot in the leg. Blocker said they believe Yarbrough shot Johnson in the chest while standing over him.

A fellow officer took Johnson to Bronson Battle Creek Hospital, where he was stabilized. From there, Johnson was taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, where he remains in stable condition.

Blocker said that the tourniquet that was applied to Johnson’s leg, as well as the bullet-proof vest, saved Johnson’s life.

“Because of that tourniquet and vest, I believe he will pull through. All of it is 100% recoverable, according to the physicians this (Saturday) morning,” Blocker said.

Officers found a 9-millimeter handgun at the scene. It is believed both the officer and the suspect fired shots.

ABOVE: Watch the news conference held earlier Saturday morning by Battle Creek police. Police are asking the public to call 911 or Silent Observer at 269.964.3888 with any information.

Next door neighbor Brittney McGinn said she was awakened by the sound of a child screaming.

“It was like he was screaming for his mom and his grandma,” McGinn said.

“They kept getting closer and closer and then they got in the driveway. I told my boyfriend to grab my daughter and we just stayed on the ground,” she said.

McGinn says she recognizes the suspect as someone who would come around the house next door frequently.

“I knew him, but I don’t hang out with him,” she said. “I didn’t think he would do something like this, though. He seemed like a fine person.”

Johnson has been with the Battle Creek Police Department since December 2013. Prior to that, he was with the Springfield Police Department “for a number of years,” Blocker said. Johnson is also a negotiator with the department and is also a member of the honor guard.

It is believed the last Battle Creek officer shot on duty was Detective LaVern Brann. He was shot and killed on May 9, 2005, while interviewing a homicide suspect.

Michigan State Police will continue to investigate the shooting.  

“I am proud of our team and proud of our community,” Blocker said in a news release. “Officer Johnson and our entire BCPD team appreciate everyone’s encouragement and well wishes today.” 

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