CENTREVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Investigators say a license plate reader pointed Sturgis police and St. Joseph County sheriff’s deputies to a double murder suspect, who then led them on a chase and died in a shooting with officers.
The St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Office says 30-year-old David Algarin Jr. is believed to have killed 38-year-old Stacy Ramsey and 61-year-year-old Jerry Longacre.
“While we do not have a clear motive for the murders at this time, detectives are working diligently to piece together what happened and why,” Sturgis Director of Public Safety Ryan Banaszak told reporters at a Monday news conference.
He said that Ramsey was shot on S. Centreville Road near South Street in Sturgis around 10:45 p.m. Saturday and left her lying in the street.
“As witnesses exited their vehicles to provide assistance to the woman in the roadway, the suspect returned to the scene, striking the victim with his vehicle before fleeing,” Banaszak said.
Ramsey died on the way to the hospital.
With help from the community, Banaszak said, Algarin was identified as the suspect within hours.
That led investigators to a home at the Sweet Lake mobile home park on US-12 east of Sturgis. Algarin was there, but he took off when Sturgis officers and St. Joseph County sheriff’s deputies arrived and escaped.
When deputies searched the home, they found Longacre’s body.
Around 11 a.m. Sunday, Banaszak said, a license plate reading camera in Sturgis got a hit on Algarin’s car. A Sturgis officer soon spotted it on US-12. Investigators say Algarin took off, headed east. That took him past Sweet Lake, where deputies were still on scene processing evidence. They took lead on the chase.
The chase continued east on US-12 into Bronson, then north on S. Madison Lake Road to eastbound M-86. Undersheriff Jason Bingaman said the chase reached speeds of 70 mph.
Algarin was on the phone with dispatchers during the chase, the undersheriff said.
“Based on the information that we had and the two homicide investigations that we were conducting, it was clear that he had homicidal and suicidal ideations,” Bingaman said.
The chase ended on M-86 near Kane Road east of Colon, just inside Branch County. Bingaman said deputies decided they had to force Algarin’s vehicle off the road before he got to Colon, where the annual magic festival was happening.
“There were going to be several people out on the street and so it was imperative that we try to get it stopped as quick as we could,” Bingaman said.
Pursuing deputies used a tactic called the PIT maneuver to intentionally cause Algarin’s car to crash into a wheat field. There was a shooting and Algarin died at the scene.
Deputies have not stated outright whether Algarin was killed by deputies and dashcam video played at the news conference does not make it clear.
Michigan State Police are looking into the shooting, which is standard procedure. MSP Lt. DuWayne Robinson said investigators are awaiting an autopsy report and ballistics testing to release more information on Algarin’s cause of death.
MSP records show Algarin had a criminal history in Michigan dating back to 2011 that included convictions for domestic violence and second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a relationship involved.