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1060 1 month ago
1060 1 month ago
A Kentwood police officer has been cleared in the shooting of a man who allegedly pointed an AR-15 pistol at police.
The 24-year-old man suffered non-life-threatening injuries when he was shot in the abdomen, police said.
He is charged with felonious assault and free on $20,000 bond. His name is withheld pending arraignment in Kentwood District Court.
Kentwood police responded around 3 p.m. June 29 to Stauffer Avenue SE where the man allegedly fired a shot into the air. A witness told a 911 dispatcher that the man, armed with the AR-15, was in the driveway yelling before she heard a gunshot.
He then walked around the corner to Woodshire Place SE. A plainclothes detective, in an unmarked car, watched the man and relayed information to dispatchers until Officer Russell Mazarka and a sergeant reached the scene.
According to video of incident released by Kentwood police, the suspect was told by police to stop and drop his weapon. Police said he pointed it at the officer and sergeant before he was shot.
Three shots were fired but only one hit the suspect. He fell to the ground, dropped the gun, then got back up unarmed. His mother was near the scene when he was shot, the video showed.
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker reviewed the investigation conducted by Kent County sheriff’s detectives.
Becker said that no charges would be filed against the officer.
“Given the facts known to Officer Mazarka at the time he fired the three shots, he had an honest and reasonable belief that he and (the sergeant) faced imminent death or at least great bodily harm,” Becker wrote in a letter to Kentwood police Chief Richard Roberts.
Becker said Mazarka was faced with a man who had already fired at least one round before police reached the scene and “who appeared to be transitioning into a position to fire at least another round when confronted by the officers.”
He said that four witnesses believed that the suspect was going to shoot. The law does not require the officer to wait for the suspect to fire his gun before using his, Becker said.
“Officer Mazarka had an honest and reasonable belief that the suspect was about to shoot, he had the right to protect himself and (the sergeant) before shots were fired,” Becker wrote.
The man got up and eventually turned around so police could handcuff him behind his back. Other times, he told police to let him go, the video showed.
Kentwood police said that he had threatened residents on Stauffer Avenue.
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