Suspect arrested in Battle Creek murder

Posted at 1:48 PM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-04 07:10:04-05

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - Police have made an arrest in a homicide and fire earlier this week.

Howard Gillette was found dead after a fire at his home on Graves Avenue in the early morning hours of New Year's Day.  Police determined that Gillette had died from gunshot wounds before the fire.

“The body had potential gunshot wounds. An autopsy was done later that day and determined that the gentleman inside the house, Howard Gillette, died from multiple gunshot wounds,”says Sgt. Jeff Case with the Battle Creek Police Department.

At a press conference Thursday morning, Sgt. Jeff Case of the Battle Creek Police Department said that they were able to make an arrest Wednesday night after putting together some pieces of events that happened on New Year's Eve.

A Michigan State Police trooper pulled over a vehicle earlier and arrested the driver for Operating While Intoxicated.  That man also had a large caliber handgun and other suspicious looking items in his vehicle. The man was taken into custody by bonded out later in the day.

“During that traffic stop a gentleman was arrested for OWI. He was also found to have a large caliber handgun. And there were also some suspicious looking things in the car. We knew nothing about the homicide. That car was towed,” says Sgt. Case.

Also on New Year's Eve, police found Gillette's dog wandering near the home. Police said it was uncommon that the dog was away from Gillette.

Police say that the shooting death of Gillette likely took place as much as 24 hours before the fire.  The suspect was taken into custody at a home on Maple Terrace and is being charged with open murder and felony firearm possession.

The suspect's name has not yet been released, pending his arraignment which is expected on Friday.