Deputy who shot at Muskegon Heights basketball game shooter honored

Posted at 10:04 PM, Sep 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-10 22:04:34-04

LANSING, Mich. — The deputy who shot at a gunman who police say opened fire into a crowd outside a Muskegon Heights High School basketball game was honored by state lawmakers.

Muskegon County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Schmidt was recognized during the annual House of Representatives’ 9/11 ceremony by Rep. Holly Hughes, R-Montague, on Sept. 8. He’s also been named the Officer of the Year by the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police.

“This honor was rightfully bestowed upon Deputy Schmidt for putting himself in the line of fire and stopping a gunman who had opened fire and injured a number of people during a high school basketball game,” the tribute from Rep. Hughes reads.

“On behalf of everyone who has benefited directly from the heroism of this outstanding law enforcement officer and the countless others who reap the rewards of his sacrifices, we offer our congratulations and thanks on this well-deserved acknowledgment of his bravery.”

Rep. Hughes also read the following statement during her tribute Thursday Sept. 8 during a House committee meeting on Military and Veterans Affairs:

Few professions hold more responsibility and danger than police work. While this has always been the case, the increasing presence of drugs and violence in our society has served to make this an even more difficult task in recent years. The most routine and seemingly innocent situation can quickly become a moment of terror. Each day, on each shift, the men and women who protect us, cope with this pressure while maintaining the perspective that most people are law abiding, and most hold great respect for them.

Schmidt confronted and shot Clarence McCaleb, 22, four times in the parking lot of Muskegon Heights High School on Feb. 9. Schmidt drew his own weapon and ordered the McCaleb to drop his gun but he refused and pointed his gun at the deputy instead, according to Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler.

Police said McCaleb told them he had gone to watch the basketball game, but he ran into a group of people at the game and went out to his car to get a gun.  He told police that when he tried to leave, the group of people ran at him and he fired shots into the crowd.

McCaleb was injured after being shot by Schmidt. McCaleb has since has been arraigned on six felony counts, including three for assault with intent to commit murder.

The prosecutor’s office previously ruled Schmidt took the necessary action to save his life and others at the scene.