GeorgeRodd/iStock/Thinkstock(BENTON HARBOR, Mich.) — A 28-year-old man was shot and killed by police after he opened fire on an officer in Benton Harbor, Michigan, according to authorities.
The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety said officers were called to a home near a local high school around 2:15 a.m. Tuesday on a report that a man was being held at gunpoint, police said in a press conference.
When officers arrived at the scene, a resident of the home said that no one had called for assistance. The officers decided to inspect the premises, but did not find anything of concern inside. According to the department, while they were outside the residence, a man opened fire on the officers from a nearby park.
Four or five shots were initially fired at the residence and officers ran for cover, police said.
One officer engaged in gunfire with the suspect, a black male, and shot him. The man was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Police said that they didn’t believe that the suspect purposefully targeted officers.
They said a witness who was passing by at the time was put in a squad car for safety during the gunfire.
The officers said that the suspect fired shots at the officer while riding a bicycle, and had two handguns on him at the time he was killed.
A group of community members, voicing anger with police, gathered in protest of the shooting.
Benton Harbor Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis spoke out in defense of the actions taken by his officers.
“We hope that we don’t have any issues,” McGinnis said. “We really have nothing to hide.”
“What is clear is there was as an intention to harm someone at that residence,” he continued. “We can not say for sure that the guy was determined to shoot at officers.”
Michigan state police have been asked to conduct an independent investigation into the incident.
“The shots that were fired by the suspect were in the direction of both officers and homeowners,” Det. Chuck Christenson with Michigan State Police said, adding that they believe the police were called by a resident who feared the home was being targeted by the suspect.
Police believe the officers fired 15 rounds at the suspect.
Three of four officers had functioning body cams, according to police. They said footage would be released later, but did not specify a time.
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