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Prosecutor: Troopers involved in deadly Muskegon County shooting 'acted in lawful self-defense'

Muskegon trooper shooting on sugaridge drive.jpg
Posted at 12:39 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 12:39:19-04

LAKETON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Two Michigan State Police troopers involved in a deadly shooting last month acted in lawful self-defense, the Muskegon County prosecutor ruled.

The trooper-involved shooting happened back on April 4 just before 3 p.m. near the intersection of Sugaridge Drive and West River Road in Laketon Township.

RELATED: Man suspected of breaking into home, shot and killed by troopers near Muskegon

Michigan State Police say troopers from the Grand Rapids post responded to a breaking and entering. According to troopers, a teenage girl was home alone during the time of the break-in. State police say the teen locked herself in a bedroom and called 911 while the suspect moved around the house.

The Muskegon County prosecutor says two troopers arrived at the scene together and started walking around the home looking for the suspect.

The prosecutor says one of the troopers saw the intruder climbing out of a window and jumping to the ground with a handgun in his right hand. According to the prosecutor, the trooper told the suspect, later identified as 37-year-old Joseph Miller, not to move. That’s when the prosecutor says Miller fired his weapon repeatedly at the trooper. The trooper fired back.

The second trooper had gone to the back of the house. That trooper also shot back at Miller.

The Muskegon County prosecutor says Miller can be seen falling to the ground and turning his own gun on himself. The prosecutor says Miller then shot himself in the head.

MORE: MSP identify man killed in trooper-involved shooting in Laketon Twp

Miller’s manner of death has been ruled a suicide.

In determining if the shooting was justified, the prosecutor looked at body camera footage, dash camera footage and footage from the home’s security camera.

A toxicology report shows Miller had amphetamines and opiates in his system.

Investigators also determined Miller was armed with an illegal handgun.

“Both troopers acted lawfully, reasonably and heroically in protecting the teenage girl and reacting to the life-threatening situation caused by the deceased,” the prosecutor stated.

The prosecutor concluded the report by stating, “The courage and clear thinking of the teenage girl is extraordinary and commendable. The calmness and professionalism of the dispatcher who gave direction and comfort to the teenage girl while police were in route was also remarkable. The two Troopers who quickly arrived to the home invasion in progress not only conducted themselves with professionalism and skill, they both exhibited the utmost bravery. The Troopers’ actions were entirely lawful and they exhibited the highest excellence of conduct in the performance of their duties. On behalf of the citizens of Muskegon we thank them for their heroic actions.”

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