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KDPS chief: Home invasion, fatal shooting ‘sobering reminder’ of law enforcement’s work

Chris Neal Family
Posted at 9:22 PM, Dec 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-02 23:08:16-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office has identified the victim who was shot and killed in his home Sunday night in Comstock Township.

Sheriff Richard Fuller stood at the podium in front of reporters and photographers and said the victim was 22-year-old Christopher Ryan Lee Neal.

“This family has a tragic loss,” Fuller said while addressing the media during a press conference. “The young man who was lost was new to this community and he was taking care of his family last night.”

Neal and his wife and young daughter were watching TV when an intruder broke into their home and held them hostage, Fuller said.

“She at the direction of the husband and her own, took their child out of harms way and hid themselves in another room in another part of the house,” Fuller said.

The SWAT team was called, which included officers from the sheriff’s office, Michigan State Police and Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, he said. When officers arrived they heard gunshots and entered the residence.

“There were a lot of rounds fired off by the suspect last night, a lot,” Fuller said. “No officers were in a position to return any fire because they were worried about other victims.”

Each of the three officers, who were the first to arrive on the scene, were shot, he said. Each suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

“It’s a sobering reminder of the work that all the law enforcement, all our first responders do day in and day out,” said KDPS Chief Karianne Thomas.

Thomas said PSO Caleb Jones was shot but was in good condition at the hospital.

MSP Lt. Angel Ouwinga said Trooper Mark Fletcher was shot in the leg. However he was discharged Sunday night and was in "good spirits" on Monday.

“Our condolences to the family for everything that they’re going through,” said Ouwinga. “Certainly this was a very senseless and tragic incident. So our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.”

Fuller said a deputy suffered a graze wound in the incident. However they’re withholding his name at this time.

As for the suspect, he is currently lodged at county jail, Fuller said. Law enforcement hopes to file several charges against him including murder, home invasion, and assault with intent to harm.

“The men and women of these emergency services — law enforcement, Fire, EMS — they go out every night and their goal is to protect their community to work as a team and to help their citizens,” Fuller said. “They’re very proud men and women and we’re very proud of them.”