No one injured in attempted ‘suicide by cops’

Posted at 7:11 PM, Apr 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-23 06:18:47-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. --  Grand Rapids police officers Sunday morning arrested a 41-year-old Wyoming man who they say try to commit suicide by cop. They say it was a close call that came down to a split-second decision by police.

GRPD Sgt. Catherine Williams says an officer was on patrol near Joe Taylor Park around 7 a.m. on Sunday when the man approached him on foot and began firing at his patrol car with an air soft gun. The officer didn't know what kind of weapon it was at the time and called for backup.

“It was a very heavy police presence, naturally, any time we have an incident like this," Williams says.

It's believed the man was trying to get police to shoot him, based on his actions and the provoking things he said to them. “We believe at this time, based on the individual’s statements requesting the officers shoot him, that this was an attempt of suicide by cop," Williams says.

The man took off on foot through the park. Police say he then got on a moped and drove into oncoming traffic near Lake Drive and Fuller Avenue, but police were able to arrest him.

Williams says during the entire incident, no officers fired any rounds.

“Obviously, this is a best case scenario," Williams says. "No one is injured. Someone that’s a danger to themselves and others is now safely in custody, and no officers were injured."

The man now faces four counts of aggravated assault. He is currently being held at the Kent County Correctional Facility.

“Every case is fluid. Every situation’s dynamic, and the officers are trained to make that split-second decision based on the circumstances of that incident," Williams said.

Williams says the man had a short history of police encounters related to his mental health. She says GRPD is also taking steps to ensure the well-being of the officers involved. “Our focus going forward is making sure all the officers involved that were a split second away from taking the life of another individual, that they too receive the resources they need to process this," Williams says.

GRPD urges anyone who is contemplating suicide to call either 2-1-1 or 1-800-SUICIDE.  Pine Rest Christian Health Services and Network 180 are also available.