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‘He let dispatch know that he needed somebody out there:’ Galesburg man calls 911 before being shot by sergeant

Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office released body camera video of the exchange and the deadly shooting at the gas station.
Posted at 8:04 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 20:04:15-04

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — Early Monday morning, a man died after a deputy-involved shooting at a gas station in Comstock Township, near I-94.

Monday afternoon, during a press conference, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office released body camera video which showed the exchange between the man and the sergeant, and the subsequent deadly shooting.

Sheriff Fuller said it all began at 2:36 a.m. when Kalamazoo central dispatch received a phone call from the gas station in Galesburg.

“A subject walked into the gas station, advised the staff there that he needed to call 9-1-1. They dialed 9-1-1 and handed him the phone. He let dispatch know that he needed somebody out there,” Sheriff Fuller said. “One of our deputies was dispatched to what we would call a suspicious  occurrence because nobody knew exactly what all was being requested or what was going on.”

The Sheriff’s Office aired the body camera video showing what happened when he arrived.

Kalamazoo sheriff releases body cam footage of deputy-involved shooting

“What’s going on?” the sergeant asked the man who made the phone call to dispatch minutes prior. “What’s that?” 

“Back up,” the man said while pointing an object toward the sergeant. 

“What do you mean back up?” the sergeant said. “Put it down.”

The video shows the man jerking towards the sergeant.

“County send me another unit out here right now,” the sergeant said into his radio while raising a gun. “Don’t do it dude. Don’t do it. (I need people now). I’ll shoot you dude.”

The body camera video shows the man continuing to jerk toward the sergeant and the sergeant stepping backwards while repeatedly telling him to put the object down.

After nearly a minute the sergeant shot the man.

The man was later pronounced dead. The sheriff’s office identified him as R.V. Johnson of Galesburg, born in 1999.

“This is a very tragic incident. Our condolences go out to the family,” Sheriff Fuller said. “We have been with the family this morning. I can tell you that they are suffering this loss. This is very tragic. I would ask people to respect the families wishes and let them grieve right now.”

Sheriff Fuller said that the sergeant has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol in these kinds of cases.

He added that a knife was recovered at the scene, and the investigation has been handed over to Michigan State Police.

Sheriff Fuller also noted that this is the second deputy-involved shooting they’ve experienced in almost two months, at the same gas station. The first one happened in August when Sergeant Ryan Proxmire was shot and killed in the line of duty.

“I think another time, another conversation is the prevalence of these things happening in our nation. But, today, I will tell you that the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office sends our condolences to this family,” Sheriff Fuller said. “This family did not go to bed last night expecting anything like this to happen. Our deputies did not report to work expecting anything like this to happen.”