Kalamazoo Police Lured into Ambush, Gunman Killed in Shootout
A gunman is dead and a Kalamazoo Public Safety Officer rushed to Bronson Emergency for treatment after a fierce exchange of gunfire at close range between two officers and an employee at Biomat USA on Kalamazoo Avenue late Tuesday morning.
Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas says it appears to have been an ambush.
She says the gunman walked into the business on Kalamazoo Avenue late Tuesday morning, fired the gun, told co-workers to call the police, and then waited near the door for officers to arrive.
Public Safety was dispatched at 11:29 am and the first two officers arrived within three minutes.
Chief Thomas said those officers immediately entered the building, as they have been trained to do in active shooter cases and instantly drew fire, and began to shoot back.
She says an officer who has been on the job 2/1-2 years was struck several times, but saved by his bulletproof vest. The other Officer, who has only been on the job 9 months, hit the gunman several times, helping save his partner with his quick response, according to Thomas.
Witnesses say the officer who was shot seemed lifeless and was rushed out the door and to an emergency vehicle and taken to Bronson Methodist.
He was treated and released and is recovering at home.
They began lifesaving efforts on the gunman, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. The other officer was not hit.
State Police First Lieutenant Chuck Christensen tells us he will investigate the shooting, using reports from all the police agencies that responded, forensic tests and all other evidence and turn over his investigation file to the County Prosecutor for a determination whether the use of lethal force was justified.
Chief Thomas said the officers did what they were trained to do during the afternoon news conference. “We are so very fortunate in this community to have such caring and highly skilled Public Safety Officers. These are men and women who will run into gunfire. We are so blessed that all our officers, all the employees of Biomat and their customers are going home safe tonight to their families”.
Chief Thomas says they also plan their own internal investigation of the shooting to make sure departmental policies were followed. The two officers involved were sent home but have not been put on administrative leave.
The Gospel Mission and Several other businesses went on lockdown or closed for a while during the investigation but reopened by mid-afternoon.
No names have been released. The gunman’s motive remains a mystery.