KALAMAZOO, Mich. (Feb. 9, 2014) – The owner of the apartment complex where a man was shot to death by Kalamazoo Public Safety officers is speaking out about the moments that led up to the shooting.
Michael Phelan, owner of William Welsh Terrace Apartments, said he let the officers inside on Friday, the night his tenant, Brad Mason, was shot and killed. He walked FOX 17 through the hallway where he said shots were fired.
“They (officers) were ahead of me and they said, ‘there he is, he’s on the stairs,” Phelan said. “They pointed and everybody was shouting at once, ‘there he is…he’s got a gun.'”
Phelan said that’s when he stepped out onto the porch.
“I sort of crouched and the police officers were crouched right here,” Phelan said. “All pointing their guns and all of them shouting simultaneously, ‘put the gun down, show your hands, show your hands, put it down, put it down, show your hands.'”
The sound of fireworks is what Phelan heard next. By Monday, bullet holes could be seen throughout the hallway and into another tenants apartment.
The officers said they came to the apartments that night to follow-up on a sexual assault and abduction that happened on Wednesday. Investigators said the suspect involved in that case grabbed a woman and forced her into a red truck near Fairview and University streets. They said the suspect dropped her back off at the area after sexually assaulting her.
Relatives of Mason told FOX 17 that Mason owned a red truck, but KDPS has yet to confirm him as the suspect they were looking for the night they went to the apartments. Mason’s family also said that Mason was holding a B.B. gun that night, not a firearm.
“I had no problems with him,” Phelan said. “In fact, he paid his rent regularly for the three years he was here, so, those to me are good qualities of a tenant.
Mason has a lengthy criminal record that dates back to 1991. Among the charges, is a 2006 charge of criminal sexual conduct involving a child. Mason served prison time for his offenses and was released in 2012.
“I was aware of his background. Yes, I was aware of his previous background and also that he was in the process of turning his life around,” Phelan said.
Phelan also said he checked with Mason’s employer and parole officer before allowing him to move in and that both had given Mason a good reference.
“Even the parole officers said, ‘ya know, he’s really straight and good, this guys gonna make it,'” Phelan said.
The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is holding a press conference regarding the shooting on Monday.