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Tag Archive | "shooting"

Prosecutor rules on M-37 road rage shooting


By Judy Reed

According to a statement released by Kent County Christopher Becker last week, charges will not be brought against the man who shot two people during a road rage incident on M-37 in May, killing one and injuring the other.

“The prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Robert (Chipman) did not act in self-defense,” explained Becker. “Based on all of the facts and evidence we have at this time, we cannot meet this burden.”

The shooting occurred on May 22, on southbound M-37 across from the Sparta Chevrolet Dealership in Sparta Township. According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, two 911 callers reported at about 3:20 a.m. that two people had been shot and were laying on the ground near a stopped vehicle along the road. At least one of the callers reported that the shooting was the result of some type of road rage incident.

When the Kent County Sheriff Department arrived, they found two men with gunshot wounds near the stopped vehicle. Donald Dudley, 20, of Bailey, Michigan, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other man, Benjamin Dudley, 18, also from Bailey, Michigan, was transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital and in critical condition.

Police also found a third male subject who stated that he had shot both of the men. Robert Chipman Jr., 43, from Newaygo, Michigan, has a valid Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL).

One of the 911 callers was Aja Cruz, 22, of Wyoming. She reported to police that she had been with the brothers at their home on Bailey Road that day, and she was driving Donald to his place of work at the Shell gas station on 44th Street in Wyoming when the road rage incident occurred. According to her account, the pickup truck, driven by Chipman, who was also on his way to work, came up close behind her, and she had trouble seeing because his lights were blinding her. She said that Benjamin Dudley, who was sitting in the front, waved at Chipman to go around. She then slowed to allow him to pass. She said the man in the pickup then honked his horn, flashed his brights, and eventually passed her.

She said that after the truck passed, it braked in front of her and slowed to about 30 mph, so she tried to pass, but it then sped up again, and wouldn’t allow her to pass. She said it then sped up again. Cruz said this made the Dudley brothers angry, and they told her to speed up and catch the truck. She said she increased her speed to about 80 mph, but the truck continued to pull away, and finally slowed for a yellow light, which allowed her to catch up. The brothers were mad, and Benjamin wanted to throw a water bottle at the truck, but she wasn’t sure if he did. She passed the truck at abut 65 mph; the truck then passed her again, and then suddenly pulled off the side of the road and stopped. Donald and Benjamin told her to pull in behind him, which she did.

Cruz said before she even had her car in park, the Dudleys both jumped out and went to the truck. She stayed in the car.

Benjamin Dudley’s statement mirrored what Cruz told deputies.

Prosecutor Becker said that Chipman’s statement surprisingly didn’t vary much from what the other two said, other than who was to blame for the driving. Chipman told officers that Cruz pulled out in front of him on M-37. He said there was enough room, but that the car was swerving all over the road as it got up to 55 mph. He said he couldn’t pass since it was a no-passing area on M-37. He could tell they were agitated, because someone tried to wave him around. He decided not to pass because it wasn’t safe. When they slowed down to 30 mph, it appeared they expected him to go around, so he said he flicked his bright lights to acknowledge they were trying to get him to pass, and when he got in the passing lane, he sped up and passed. He honked as he was passing to let them know he was passing, he said.

Chipman said he then got up to about 100 mph trying to get away from the car, but it ended up on his tail. As it passed, someone threw something out the window at his truck. The car then slammed on its brakes. Chipman passed the car again, then decided to stop on the side of the road and call 911 and get the license plate of the vehicle because of what had happened. He had to stop because his phone was in his lunchbox. The car then pulled up behind him. He said he only had enough time to get his feet on the ground before he was grabbed and pushed back into his truck. He described being held by one and hit by the other one. He thought a third person was approaching with something in his hand, and it was then that he decided to use his weapon, a Smith and Wesson 40 caliber semi-automatic pistol that was tucked in the small of his back.

Cruz reported yelling between the three, with the Dudleys calling the driver a b— for his driving, and seeing the driver swing at Donald. Donald then pushed Chipman against the truck and Benjamin joined him. She then reported hearing a gunshot and saw Benjamin go flying into the road and drop on the ground on his back. She then heard two more shots and saw Donald falling to his left side, holding his face.  She said she heard the driver yelling, “What now b–?” as she quickly drove a safe distance down the road to call police.

Benjamin reported that his brother told him to beat up the driver, and that he (Donald) was going to beat him up, too. However, Benjamin said he wasn’t looking to fight.

Benjamin suffered three wounds. One shot went through the left forearm and passed through into his left hip; the other shot went into the left side of his chest and continued on into the right side of his back. Donald was shot in the face. The bullet went into his left cheek and traveled through his brain and lodged in the right occipital region.

According to Becker, the appropriate use of deadly force in self-defense is a factual question and each case is different. He said the main question in this case is whether Chipman had an honest and reasonable belief that he was going to be hurt on the side of M-37 that morning. A jury would be advised to look at the circumstances as they appeared to Chipman that morning.

The car was not forced to stop behind him; there was a strange car behind him on a deserted dark road in the middle of the night; there had been reckless driving between the two vehicles; something had been thrown at his truck; and the Dudley brothers approached him with hostile intent—something that both Cruz and Benjamin Dudley affirmed. They assaulted Chipman, and he had nowhere to go; and he felt there was a third person approaching to join the assault. That was when he decided to use his weapon.

“The law does not require him to be beaten to the point of death or unconsciousness before he can resort to deadly force,” Becker added. “It only requires that the person honest and reasonably believe it is needed at the time he acted, given all of the circumstances. Given the facts presented here, it is impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the actions of Robert were not lawful self-defense. Therefore, no charges will be filed.”

Becker noted that this is the second road rage incident in the last year where someone has died. The other occurred in September 2016 at Kalamazoo and 52nd St. “Both cases show the risks inherent with confronting other individuals over their driving. Two people died over such arguments, another may be paralyzed. To what ends?” remarked Becker.

“No good can come from pulling over to the side of the road and confronting another driver about what they did/did not/or should have done with their driving. Find a public place to pull over; go inside a gas station, store, anywhere there are other people who may assist or be witnesses and call the police. Let police handle the situation, do not deal with individuals in another vehicle alone on the side of the road. Nothing beneficial will occur by confronting another driver.”

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Double shooting near Sparta


 

A man is dead and another injured after a double shooting early Monday morning in the area of M-37 north of Sparta Avenue NW.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, 911 callers reported at about 3:20 a.m. that two people had been shot and were laying on the ground near a stopped vehicle along the road in the 9000 block of southbound M-37 in Sparta Township. A 911 caller reported that the shooting was the result of some type of road rage incident.

When the Kent County Sheriff Department arrived, they found two men with gunshot wounds near the stopped vehicle. Donald Dudley, 20, of Bailey, Michigan, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other man, Benjamin Dudley, 18, also from Bailey, Michigan, was transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital and is in critical condition.

Police also found a third male subject who stated that he had shot both of the men. Robert Chipman Jr., 43 years of age, from Newaygo, Michigan, has a valid Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL). Police did recover a firearm from the scene.

A fourth person, a 22-year-old female from Wyoming, had fled in a vehicle from the scene but was located a short distance away after she also called 911 to report the shooting. She confirmed that she fled in the vehicle after hearing the gunshots and confirmed she had been with the two subjects that were shot.

Major Case Team Investigators interviewed the alleged male shooter and the female witness at KCSD Headquarters. Both are cooperating with investigators.

The surviving male subject, Benjamin Dudley, will be interviewed when his medical condition allows investigators to speak with him.

This case remains an active investigation and all subjects involved are accounted for and there is no public danger. An autopsy was conducted by Kent County Medical Examiners Officer Monday to determine an official cause of death. Investigators will present their complete findings to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office to determine if any criminal charges will be brought against any of the subjects involved.

Assisting at the scene was the Michigan State Police; Sparta Fire/Rescue; the Kent County Medical Examiners Officer; and Rockford Ambulance.

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Police investigate shooting


Cory M. Newville

Cory M. Newville

A 20-year-old Algoma Township man died last weekend from a gunshot wound he suffered while playing with a handgun.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the shooting happened in the 2200 block of Rector about 10:53 p.m. December 5. They said that the 20-year-old male, identified as Cory M. Newville, suffered a fatal gunshot wound that appeared to have been self-inflicted.

Police said the victim recently obtained a handgun and was playing with it inside of the residence.

Three witnesses present during the time of the shooting were interviewed by Investigators. Police said all parties involved are being cooperative.

An autopsy was performed on December 7 and confirmed the cause of death to be from a gunshot wound. Police said that further tests are being performed and will be available at a later date.

The death is still under investigation.

Funeral services for Cory Newville are Thursday, December 10, at 11 a.m. at Hessel-Cheslek Funeral Home.

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Women:
learn archery, handgun and shotgun skills




Women’s Shooting Discovery Day Sept. 29

The Department of Natural Resources will offer an opportunity for women to explore different types of shooting all in one day at the Women’s Shooting Discovery Day in Sparta on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Part of the DNR’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program, the class will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Sparta Hunting & Fishing Club. This shooting clinic, for beginners as well as those who would like to sharpen their shooting skills, will provide certified, one-on-one instruction for archery, handgun shooting and trap shooting (shotgun).

The day will begin with a range safety orientation, and the class will then break up into three rotation groups, where each participant will have the opportunity to learn and practice each of the shooting activities throughout the day. All shooting activities will take place outdoors.

Cost is $50 per person and includes lunch, served by the Sparta Hunting & Fishing Club membership, as well as all equipment, eye and ear protection and ammunition. The Sparta Hunting & Fishing Club is located at 13218 Long Lake Drive in Sparta. For more information about the club, visit www.spartahuntingandfishingclub.com. 
For registration forms and information on this and other BOW events, visit www.michigan.gov/bow, email dnr-outdoors-woman@michigan.gov or call 517-241-2225.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman helps women learn about and enjoy hunting, fishing, backpacking, shooting sports, canoeing and many other outdoor recreation activities. BOW specializes in beginners, but also offers a variety of programs that support a mix of skill levels. BOW is a noncompetitive program, designed to let each individual learn and gain confidence at her own pace. The program emphasizes the enjoyment, fun and camaraderie of outdoor activities, while sharing in one another’s success. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/bow.

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Police search for shooting suspect


Greenville police are searching for the person that shot a man in his hotel room at the Flat River Inn & Suites last Saturday, November 12.
According to the Greenville Department of Public Safety, officers responded to the crime scene at 1104 W. Washington Street, about 12:20 a.m. November 12.  They found that Frederick Neal, 24, of Grand Rapids, had been shot multiple times. Witnesses in the hotel room were unable to give police any information that would help identify the shooter.
The victim was transported by Montcalm County EMS to Spectrum Health United and later flown to Butterworth in critical condition.
Officers were assisted by the Montcalm County Sheriff Department.
Anyone with info is requested to call the Greenville Department of Public Safety at (616) 754-9161 or Silent Observer at (866) 774-2345.

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Assault weapons fire shatters peaceful neighborhood


This bullet hole in a child’s bedroom wall is just one of several incidents of bullets hitting homes in the Saddle Ridge community in Algoma Township. This bullet hole in a child’s bedroom wall is just one of several incidents of bullets hitting homes in the Saddle Ridge community in Algoma Township.

Homes, child’s bedroom struck
by Beth Altena

Several incidents of gunfire from assault weapons has left neighborhood residents unsure of their safety after high-power bullets—including those from an AK-47—penetrated several homes and whizzed past parents and children relaxing at the local playground “tot lot.” Saddle Ridge community resident Suzette Garvey said people for years have been using the Rogue River Extension area as a place to practice shooting, but now an increase in the use of high-powered weapons are putting people’s lives in danger.
On Wednesday, April 27, Garvey’s 12-year-old son and friends were looking over the poured foundation of a home under construction just four lots down from the Garvey’s home, when the sound of gunfire shattered the quiet. “One of the boys whose dad is a hunter told them what to do if they heard gunfire,” Garvey said. “They dropped to the ground and took cover as they made their way back to the house.”
The Kent County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are investigating at least three recent incidents of bullets striking homes and a light pole in the Saddle Ridge neighborhood, which is located a half mile to the west of the Rogue River Extension nature area, located east of Algoma Avenue and north of Fonger Road.
Bullets penetrated a home exterior and bedroom in the 9700 block of Sunset Ridge on April 10, and during a canvass of the area by Kent County Policing officer Tonya Walkons and DNR officers found another home which had also been struck. In that case the bullet passed close to a little girl’s bed and stopped in a bathroom. Two other homes had also been struck by bullets.
Through their investigation, it was determined that three Rockford area men had fired the bullets from an AK-47 rifle and a .30 X .30 caliber rifle while target shooting at the Rogue River Extension Area, located one half mile from the damaged homes.  They have been cited for misdemeanor Reckless Discharge of a Firearm.
On April 23, the Sheriff’s Department took a report of a light post that had been hit by a bullet in the 9500 block of Algoma Ave which is located south of the Rogue River Extension Area.
On April 27, at 5:23 p.m., the Kent County Sheriff’s Department again responded to shots being fired from the Rogue River Extension Area and residents reporting that bullets could be heard passing through the air near them while outside in the 2800 block of S. Saddle Ridge Court and 2800 block of N Saddle Ridge Court.  Again, the Community Policing Deputy discovered high-powered rifle cartridges at the scene of the shooting area.
Capt. Chuck DeWitt said the incidents are the result of poor judgment combined with high powered weapons. He said the bullets hitting homes occurred because the three men were shooting the rifles up into the air, which is unsafe no matter what type of gun is being used. With the high-powered rifles, the opportunity for danger increased because of the increased range of the guns. He said there was nothing leading officers to believe the three were involved in the second and third incidents reported, although all were the result of poor judgment.
DeWitt said it is not illegal to shoot or hunt with assault rifles, which are designed to have a lot of bang for infantrymen in the military, but he doubts many hunters would choose to use one. He also said the weapons, used with common-sense safety precautions that any gun user should follow, would not be dangerous, even in that setting. The AK-47 and similar guns are increasingly in popularity. “A lot of people hear AK-47 and conjure up bad things,” he stated. “It doesn’t matter if it’s an AK-47 or a regular rifle, either way its poor judgment that causes problems.” He said the three men in the initial incident started out by doing something lawful that became unlawful with their bad judgment. He also said they had no intention of hurting or scaring anyone and will be held accountable for their actions.
Garvey said there is a sign on the public land stating that target practice there is not safe, but people have been shooting there for years regardless. She hopes the DNR will make it illegal to target practice so authorities will be better able to enforce violations.
“The target practice has been going on for years,” Garvey said. “It was always more of an auditory concern, we weren’t too worried about what if something happened. Now, the what if has happened and people were narrowly missed. It’s a safety issue.”
The Kent County Sheriff’s Department discourages target shooting at the location. Target shooters in northern Kent County should use the target shooting location on 20 Mile Road, west of Red Pine Drive in the Rogue River State Game Area located in Tyrone Township. The Sheriff reminds target shooters that they are legally required to use reasonable caution for the safety of property or others whenever they are shooting and must always have a safe backstop.

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