Man with airsoft pistol shot by MSP trooper in church parking lot

A man with an Airsoft pistol was shot Monday night by a Michigan State Police trooper after refusing to drop his weapon in Hastings. (WWMT / Nicky Zizaza)

1 P.M. UPDATE: A man who was shot by police after brandishing an airsoft pistol remains hospitalized Tuesday at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, and is expected to undergo a medical procedure.

As soon as he is released from the hospital, the 36-year-old man from Middleville, Michigan, will be arrested and taken to the Barry County Jail on four felony warrants, Michigan State Police said Tuesday.

The man was shot about 6:30 p.m. Monday in a church parking lot by a trooper who was looking for the suspect in four felony warrants.

Michigan State Police Lt. Angel Ouwinga said it appears the trooper who shot the man acted appropriately.

The trooper, now on administrative leave, is "younger," Ouwinga said, and transferred to the state police Wayland Post from Lansing about a year ago.

State police declined to reveal how many times the man was shot or where, but investigators believe he will be released from the hospital soon. He then will be lodged at the Barry County Jail on the four felony warrants . A tip that the suspect in those warrants planned to be at the Thornapple Valley Church near Hastings on Monday sent the Trooper to that location on Michigan 43.

State police investigators said the suspect got out of his vehicle and held up what appeared to be a firearm after the trooper blocked the suspect's vehicle from leaving the church parking lot. State police said the man refused repeated orders to drop the weapon and the trooper fired.

Later, investigators learned the "realistic looking" firearm was an airsoft gun that shoots pellets.

Ouwinga said the department's lethal force policy instructs troopers to fire if they believe their life is at risk.

The four non-violent felony warrants the suspect faces remain unclear; Ouwinga believes one of the warrants relates to a home invasion charge.

Employees at Thornapple Valley Church said the building and parking lot were empty at the time of the officer-involved shooting. Church officials do not believe the man who was shot has any connections to the church.

The trooper was not wearing a body camera. Ouwinga said video from the trooper's dash camera is being downloaded, although it remains unclear what the camera captured.

The shooting remains under investigation by the MSP's Sixth District Investigative Response Team out of Rockford, Michigan.


Michigan State Police are investigating after a man with an Airsoft pistol was shot by a trooper in Barry County.

State police said the agency was notified about a person wanted on four, nonviolent felony warrants in the parking lot of the Thornapple Valley Church on Michigan 43 at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

When the trooper arrived, State Police Inspector Dale Hinz said, the suspect, a 36-year-old man from Middleville, attempted to drive out of the parking lot. The trooper then used his patrol car to block the suspect's depature.

Then, state police said, the suspect got out of the car and showed what the trooper believed to be a pistol. The trooper warned the suspect to drop the pistol, but he did not listen and the trooper opened fire.

It was after the shooting, Hinz said, that investigators discovered the weapon was actually an Airsoft pistol.

The suspect was taken to a hospital in Kalamazoo where he is being treated for non life-threatening injuries.

The trooper involved in the shooting was not injured, and will remain on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.

The information collected Monday will be passed on to the Barry County prosecutor.


CORRECTION: This article was adjusted from its original posting to correct the age of the suspect.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off