Witnesses recall shooting outside Spectrum Butterworth ER

Posted at 5:22 PM, Jun 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-02 17:23:19-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Police say a 26-year-old man died after he shot himself in the head near the emergency room of Spectrum Butterworth Hospital.

The shooting created a chaotic scene Wednesday evening in downtown Grand Rapids, and it's a moment that's still fresh in the minds of witnesses.

"I'm still in shock," said Damien Donley.

Donley says he was standing across the street from the 26-year-old man when he shot himself outside Butterworth.

"It just happened in the blink of an eye," he said.  "No hesitation in him whatsoever."

Cheryl Bryant said she was waiting for a ride when she saw the man.

"I mean, you make eye contact when you walk by somebody, and you could tell he had the weight of the world on him," Bryant said.

Bryant figured the man had a loved one in the hospital.  When he sat and reached into his backpack, she says she thought he pulled out a cell phone.  However, after she looked away, she heard the 'pop' of a gunshot.

Bryant called 911 as hospital staff rushed to the man's side.   The incident also prompted a lockdown at nearby Grand Rapids Community College as police searched the man's car in a parking ramp.

Sgt. Terry Dixon with Grand Rapids Police says nothing was found in the car, and despite a note indicating the man had a "parting gift" for law enforcement, the bomb squad found nothing suspicious in his backpack.

The man's name has not been released.  Police say he worked at the bookstore on the GRCC campus.