GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — This small West Michigan community — proudly known as Coast Guard City USA and home of the nationally-recognized Coast Guard Festival — is now the victim of what police are calling an act of domestic terrorism.
It all started early Sunday morning when, police say, a 34-year-old Michigan man drove a silver Dodge Ram pickup into Coast Guard Station Grand Haven, shredding the metal fence protecting the men and women inside.
“A male suspect crashed his truck through the security gate, entered the compound, entered the building and — once inside — attacked Coast Guard personnel,” Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke said.
Police say those members of the Coast Guard subdued the suspect, and he was taken into custody. But the suspect’s threat continued when he claimed there was a bomb in his truck.
t“We immediately closed Harbor Drive and the boardwalk to pedestrian traffic,” Hawke said. “There’s a condominium development situated across the street.”
Residents at that development, Sandy Piper Condominiums, were told to take shelter as the Michigan State Police Bomb Squad used a robot to investigate the scene.
They emptied the trucks’ contents before giving the community an all-clear.
“We’re investigating this — as we have to — as an act of domestic terrorism,” Hawke said. “We’re unsure of the suspect’s motives. We’re not sure if he was acting alone or in concert with someone else.”
The FBI says their investigation has not revealed a link to terrorism, as more questions surface after an attack that’s affecting the entire community.
Leif VanHorssen is one of those people living nearby.
“We’re taking that probably pretty personal here,” he said, “because, yeah, we do feel the Coast Guard is part of us, and we’re part of them.”
Police say the suspect is in custody in Grand Haven awaiting a formal arraignment.