Grand Rapids Teen in Critical Condition after Officer-Involved Shooting

Posted at 7:23 PM, Jan 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-15 11:59:59-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A 19 year-old man is in critical condition after an officer-involved shooting Tuesday afternoon. The teen was shot in his Clearpoint Valley town home on the 4100 block of North Castle Ridge Drive SE.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk says the teen has a history of mental health issues, and calls this shooting a “tragedy.”

“At this point, I don’t see anything that the officers did wrong at all. I think they acted extremely professionally, they responded, they were concerned for the welfare of this individual. It’s obviously very much a tragedy and a sad event that this young man has mental health issues and is suffering,” says Chief Belk.

Police say the teen reached out for help when he called Family Outreach Center in tears looking for his mother. When staff told the teen they would send help, police say the teen said anyone who comes to help will be hurt.  When police got to the scene, the teen came to the door with scratches on his arms then ran upstairs. When he came back down he showed what police believed to be a firearm, that turned out to be an airsoft gun.

“The firearm is a replica firearm: It has a CO2 cartridge, exactly what it is at this point, I am not certain. It is an automatic replica, it does not have an orange tip on the barrel,” explains Chief Belk.

One officer fired three shots wounding the teen in the stomach and arm. Neighbors says the teen tried to take his life last year but they thought lately he was doing fine.

“Seemed like a really nice boy, very quiet, kept to himself,” says Sonja Wilson, a neighbor.

The teen’s neighbors say he lives at home with his mother and sibling, who say he was working at a new job at Meijer and did not seem to be depressed, but happy.

“When I talked to her last she said he’s working, he’s really happy, he’s excited about his job. Then I saw him and he’s like, ‘yeah, I’m working at Meijer,’ he was really happy; a typical teenager, excited that he was working and being more independent,” adds Wilson.

Chief Belkin says this is only the preliminary investigation; both the major case team and internal affairs is investigating this shooting. Chief Belkin says the officer who fired shots has been with Grand Rapids Police since April 2008 and will be placed on administrative leave following protocol.