5-hour standoff ends with arrest after tear gas is thrown

Posted at 11:47 PM, Jul 30, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-30 23:47:11-04

MATTAWAN, Mich. — A stand-off  that lasted several hours left damaged patrol cars and the smell of tear gas in the air. A 33 -year-old male wanted on two felony warrants tried to ram through a police barricade during the stand-off.

The standoff took place In the back parking lot at Cask and Keg, a liquor store. The police said they have been looking for this man for several days but will not release his name until he his formally charged. Witnesses and neighbors say the man lived above the liquor store with his mother and that the mother is the owner of the liquor store.

Police went to serve the man an arrest warrant Wedneday when he got into his car, and what unfolded from there resulted in a standoff that lasted nearly five hours.

Dozens of people gathered at the Citgo gas station across the street to watch. Around 6 p.m. six loud bangs were heard and the sound of a car crashing.

“After several hours of negotiation with the suspect, he ended up trying to ram through our barricades on the perimeter,” said Kalamazoo County Sheriff First Lt. Dale Hinz. “After that he was gassed several times.”

The suspect was hauled off to Kalamazoo County Jail. Police officers say they knew they had to engage when the suspect refused to show them his hands.

“We knew he had a violent past and weapons accessible to him, so we decided to back off at that time and start our perimeter,” said Lt. Hinz.

Heather Bazi works at the gas station across the street and watched the situation unfold. Tuesday she saw some people hanging out in the cars behind the gas station. “We really didn’t know what was going on yesterday, but we found out today they were definitely  watching somebody,” she said.

Heather put the pieces together when she saw police outside the Cask and Keg. “There was a car back there, and we didn’t really know who it belonged to, and later we found out it was this undercover cop,” she said.

The situation ended with two patrol cars and the suspect’s car damaged from his attempt to flee a fully guarded wall of police officers and cruisers.

“No officers were injured. The suspect has very minor injuries from some broken glass,” said Lt. Hinz.

Now the suspect will be looking at a few more charges add to the list. “He will be looking at some other obstructing and resisting arrest charges, and possibly assault on a police officer by ramming the patrol vehicles that were nearby,” said Lt. Hinz

Ashley Bruner says she’s known the suspect and his mother a long time. “Kim used to watch me when I was little,” she said. “We used to go in the store all the time with our parents. We would laugh and have a good time She would give me candy sometimes,”

When Bruner heard the loud bangs at the scene, she couldn’t believe what was happening.

She described the suspect as being “down to earth. Yeah he as some mental problems, but I don’t see what would cause him to do this.”

Police confirmed that the suspect has had mental instabilities in the last year.