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No charges to be filed in deadly shooting

The man was shot on a domestic violence call in May. Photo courtesy of Michigan State Police.

Newaygo prosecuting attorney Worth Stay announced that no criminal charges will be issued in the shooting death of Johnny King, 63, on May 22, 2021 in the Bitely area.

Several Michigan State Police troopers responded to a domestic assault in Beaver Township, Newaygo County, about 8:50 a.m., that morning. 

A suspect, Johnny Owen King, was located in a fifth-wheel trailer. Two troopers entered to speak with King. He became combative and pointed a rifle at the troopers, which turned out to be a bb/pellet gun. The troopers discharged their service weapons, striking King, who died at the scene.

Stay found that the officers acted in self-defense and that their force was reasonable.

“Michigan law recognizes that any person may use deadly force to defend themselves or others in certain circumstances,” explained Stay. “If an individual has an honest and reasonable belief that they were in imminent danger of being killed or seriously injured, then an individual is permitted to use as much force as they believe is needed at the time to protect themselves.

“The officers were in a small enclosed space,” continued Prosecuting Attorney Stay, “that of a fifth-wheel trailer. In a short time frame, the individual became confrontational and then reached for, and pointed at them, a weapon…A reasonable officer would believe that their life or the life of other was in danger when faced with that situation. Both officers’ use of deadly force in response to the perceived threat was reasonable.”

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