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Police, family speak out after officer-involved shooting
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) Newschannel 3 continues to follow the latest developments in a deadly officer-involved shooting.
It happened Friday night in the area of S. Burdick Street near Bronson Hospital in downtown Kalamazoo. The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety says it all started when officers went to a home in the 100 block of Dutton Ave.
Police were following up on an abduction and rape case. They say the man who was killed in the shooting was the suspect in the rape and abduction case in the Westnedge Hill neighborhood earlier this week.
Here's what Newschannel 3 knows so far. Five public safety officers headed to this apartment building on the 100 block of Dutton, investigating a rape case. Around 5:30 p.m., gunshots rang out on the front porch.
Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley says, "It appears the individual displayed a weapon towards the officer in a threatening manner and the officers engaged with return gunfire. The subject is deceased, we have not identified him. It appears the officers were justified."
Newschannel 3 was able to find the family of the suspect, who identify him as 42-year-old Brad Mason. They believe he had a BB gun and police shot too quickly.
Mason is the the suspect in a brutal crime earlier this week. Around 1 a.m. Wednesday, a woman says she was walking in the Westnedge Hill neighborhood when a man abducted her and sexually assaulted her.
"We have not been able to follow up on that investigative lead that brought the detectives there. That person was a person of interest in this investigation," Hadley says.
Mason's family confirms he drove a red pickup truck matching the alleged rape victim's description. Newschannel 3's cameras were rolling as police took a red Ford Ranger away from the scene.
Police are trying to figure out who could have shot first and how many bullets were fired.
Newschannel 3 did some digging and found that Brad Mason is a registered sex offender, pleading guilty to accosting a minor for immoral purposes back in 2006. He served six years in prison for it.
According to Michigan State Police records, mason has a pretty extensive criminal history with arrests dating back to 1991. Charges range from breaking and entering and indecent exposure, to operating a chop shop and the sex charge that landed him on the registry.
This is not the first officer-involved shooting that Chief Hadley has dealt with during his more-than five year career as chief. In 2011, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety lost its first officer in the line of duty.
Officer Eric Zapata was shot and killed that April while responding to a shots-fired call on Hays Park Ave. in Kalamazoo's Edison neighborhood. The suspect, Leonard Statler, then turned the gun on himself.
And a little over a year ago, in January of 2013, police officers shot and killed Jacob Grassley in the lobby of the Best Western hotel on Portage Road. He was suspected of beating his wife earlier in the day, and police believed he was armed at the time.
They later found he was not, but a prosecutor ruled police were justified in the shooting.