Police: Suspect killed after shooting at Benton Harbor officers

Posted at 6:09 AM, Oct 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-18 23:55:49-04

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — A man is dead after police say he started shooting toward a home where officers were investigating an early morning call.

Darius Wimberly, identified by family as the man shot, killed by officers after opening fire on them.

Family members identify the man shot and killed by police officers as Darius Wimberly.

Police say they were called to the 900 block of Pavone at about 2:00 a.m. on reports of a person being held in a home by a person with a gun. Officers made contact with the people inside the home and didn't find anything suspicious.

Police Chief Dan McGinnis said the people at the home had not called police and were cooperative with investigators.

When police left the home, still talking with a resident, four or five shots were fired toward them, according to McGinnis. As police and residents took cover more shots were fired and an officer fired back to the area where muzzle flashes were seen.  Following several more shots from the suspected shooter, an officer shot and killed the man.

No officers or civilians who were in the home were hurt.  A woman who was on the street was pulled to safety by an officer, according to McGinnis.

The suspected shooter was found with two guns.  One gun had been emptied of bullets.

The officer who fired the deadly shots has been placed on paid administrative leave while Michigan State Police and the Berrien County Sheriff investigate.

McGinnis said during a Tuesday morning press conference that body cameras show the muzzle flashes from the suspect.  Video and audio will be released at a later time, according to police.

"We really have nothing to hide," he told reporters. "We understand that people will be hot, we understand that people will have their opinions but I think we can agree to disagree peacefully."

Police are not saying if officers were ambushed as they came from the home.  They have not yet determined if police or residents inside the home were the target of the shooting.

McGinnis also said police had prior contact with the man who was killed and that he had a criminal record, but did not provide further details.

In an effort to address skepticism within the community following the shooting, McGinnis said it was important to not rush to judgement.

"By no means will we stand here and say we’re perfect, that nothing as has ever happened, that you have no reason to have any feelings towards us," he said. "We understand things have happened in the past, we’re trying to move forward to have better relationship with our community."

The street where Wimberly was shot and killed is the same street where a man named Terrance Shurn was killed riding his motorcycle while being chased by police in June 2003. Pavone Street served as the epicenter for widespread and devastating riots in the days that followed spurred by the man's death.