Guests Of Hotel Speak Out About Deadly Officer-Involved Shooting

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 25, 2013

KALAMAZOO, Mich. –Guests at Kalamazoo’s Best Western Hotel recall Thursday night, after police shot and killed an unarmed suspect.

“When we pulled up there were probably about 40, 50 cops around the area,” said hotel guest Linsday Braun. “They were roping everything off. We were supposed to stay here last night, but they said they weren’t allowing anyone on the premises.”

In town to watch an ice skating competition, other guests at the hotel said they heard the shot that killed 34 year old Jacob Grassley, of Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley said it started at a home on Westnedge earlier in the day. Officers went to the house twice during the day.

A woman reported being assaulted by Grassley, her boyfriend. By the time police arrived, Grassley wasn’t there, neither the first nor second time.

“Officers encountered the same female victim,” Hadley said. “However, she was frantic and advised officers that the suspect had returned and his behavior was unusual and unlike any she had witnessed before.”

He added, “The victim told officers that Mr. Grassley has been depressed and believed his behavior to be unpredictable.”

The girlfriend also told the officers, she believed Grassley had two handguns and an assault rifle because she couldn’t find them where they were usually stored.

Hadley said police caught up with Grassley before 10 pm in Kalamazoo. They tried to stop and arrest him for domestic assault. He led them on a chase that led to the Best Western where an officer shot and killed him inside, on the second floor.

“In our initial review of the incident, it revealed that Mr. Grassley was not armed at the time of the shooting,” Hadley said.

The chief said he isn’t sure what prompted an officer or officers to shoot, but he said it appears to have been done within policy. Hadley wouldn’t elaborate on that policy.

The chief said weapons were located elsewhere, but he wouldn’t say where.

FOX 17 learned from a source that surveillance video of the actual shooting doesn’t exist, because cameras are not in the area where the shooting occurred.

FOX 17 found that Grassley had an active warrant for his arrest in Ohio, stemming from a 2005 traffic violation.

In this case, four officers are on excused absence. The Office of Professional Standards and the Criminal Investigations Division are investigating.