By Daniel Pepper
A man shot by police north of Fennville after a violent crime spree Saturday and Sunday is awaiting arraignment on a number of felonies.
An as yet unidentified Kalamazoo man, 22, remained hospitalized with gunshot wounds received from Allegan County Sheriff’s deputies as of Tuesday press time.
The rampage began in Martin with the report of a stolen car about 7:15 p.m. Saturday.
“As a result of that investigation,” said Sheriff Frank Baker, “our deputy was able to develop a suspect and started looking for him and the stolen auto.
Officers found the man and car about 4 a.m. Sunday and chased him when he tried to escape, then ceased pursuit because they knew who the suspect was and he’d committed only the crime of driving away a car at that point.
Officers kept following the man, but not aggressively, said Baker, and came upon the stolen car abandoned in Hopkins.
Officers later learned he’d stolen a Corvette and an AR-15 rifle after crashing the first car into a pole southeast of Hopkins about 5:30 a.m.
The man apparently then headed south, where he crashed the Corvette about 7:24 a.m. on M-40/89 north of Allegan near the Kalamazoo River. Baker said the suspect then used the stolen rifle to carjack another vehicle from a passing person.
At 8:30 a.m. the man was reported to have broken into a home in the 5400 block of 130th Avenue north of Fennville, used the AR-15 to threaten the homeowners and steal their truck, which he crashed after driving about a mile.
He then broke into a home, stole a pistol, then tried to steal a car from the neighboring homeowner in the 2900 block of 56th Street.
“While attempting that,” Baker said, “he shot at the homeowner, who engaged in a shootout with him.”
No one was injured, though bullets reportedly almost hit someone in the home. The suspect was using the stolen pistol, not the AR-15 at this point, said Baker.
The man stole that homeowner’s van but only made it a little way to the 5600 block of 128th Avenue before he drove into a ditch. He went into a nearby house and pointed a gun at the homeowners.
“He held the homeowners at gunpoint while he got the keys and went out to their vehicle but couldn’t start it,” said Baker. “That’s when deputies arrived and confronted him.”
Officers shot the suspect as he tried to get back into the house he’d just stolen the keys from.
Michigan State Police will investigate the shooting by Sheriff’s deputies, Baker said.
There were also reports the suspect had fired at homes in the area.
“The deputies involved are on administration leave until the prosecutor has reviewed the case done by the MSP and we’ve had a chance to clear them through our employee assistance program for counseling,” Baker said.
Officers believe drug use may have been a factor in the incident and in how the suspect escalated it.
Baker said he expected the man to be arraigned Wednesday, June 19, and his office had arranged to send a magistrate to his hospital bed or do so by video if necessary.