Homicide suspect surrenders in Lake Michigan

Ottawa County

DALTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A suspect in a homicide who jumped into Lake Michigan is in custody.

The suspect, who a source close to the investigation confirmed is 27-year-old Ryan Allen Berry, surrendered after negotiations while in the water and boarded the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol boat shortly before 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Ryan Allen Berry
An undated courtesy photo of Ryan Allen Berry.

The Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office confirmed he is the suspect in a deadly shooting that happened at a home in the 5900 block of Meeuwenberg Drive off Lakewood Road, just east of US-31 in Dalton Township.

Michigan State Police cruiser at homicide scene
Michigan State Police and the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office investigate a homicide in Muskegon County’s Dalton Township. (Aug. 15, 2019)

Detectives believe Berry knew the victim, whom relatives identified as 28-year-old Evan Yonker. Family described Yonker as a great dad and friend.

An undated photo of Evan Yonker. (Courtesy)
An undated photo of Evan Yonker. (Courtesy)

The sheriff’s office says deputies were responding to a report of a 27-year-old man who was suicidal at the home when 911 dispatchers reported the suicidal man may have shot someone and was on his way to Grand Haven with a female companion.

Authorities say when Grand Haven officers confronted Berry and his companion, the man ran, taking off his clothes on the south pier and jumping into the lake. He was in the water, swimming away from police for about 35 minutes before he surrendered and boarded the boat while News 8 cameras were rolling.

“The green flag is flying here at the beach so swimming conditions are favorable, that have allowed him to keep swimming for a long time. If he had a yellow or red flag, he would not be able to swim as long as he has,” Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke told News 8 minutes before the man surrendered.

Authorities couldn’t arrest the swimming suspect earlier because he claimed he still had a weapon.

“…don’t want to put anybody in the water with him because of the danger level and right now we’re just negotiating and waiting him out so we can take him into custody safely,” Hawke said.

Hawke confirmed investigators recovered some weapons in connection to the crime. Authorities say Berry is the only suspect.

On Berry’s Facebook page, he wrote, “To everyone that I loved and that loved me, I’m sorry that it came to this. I always tried to be a good person but this (expletive) up life got the better of me. I lost the most important people in my life in a matter of days, thrown away for no reason. Goodbye”.

“Mom I love you and I’m sorry. I wasn’t strong enough,” he posted later.

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