Reed’s shooting was justified, prosecutor rules

March 14, 2019

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

Clare County Sheriff’s Officers Sergeant Aaron Miller, Deputy Ryan Weakman and Deputy Steven Sentz were vindicated of criminal charges by Clare County Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis’s March 12th report for their shooting of Robert “Bob” Reed after they, along with Deputy Sean Gerbe, responded to an emergency call from Reed’s wife last November.

In January, the three officers from Clare County Sheriff’s Office – Sgt. Miller, Weakman and Sentz – who were involved in the fatal shooting of Robert William Reid, 42 of Harrison, in November were placed back on duty, pending the final review and determination of the Clare County Prosecutor, according to Sheriff John Wilson.

Wilson explained, “No law enforcement can clear anyone of criminal charges; that has to come from the prosecutor.” He continued, “We can, and did, following our own internal review of the incident, ‘administratively’ clear the deputies to return to duty, a normal process.” He said the deputies have been back on duty since early December.

Clare County Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis released her report Tuesday clearing the officers on the shooting of Robert Reed III in the incident at the home.
Part of the Prosecutor’s conclusion said, “Based upon the review of the facts of this situation and the applicable law, the officers were lawfully present at the address in response to Lisa’s (Robert’s wife) 9-1-1 call for help.

The conclusion continued, “According to the information that they (the officers) knew prior to their arrival on scene and what they learned upon arrival, they had the probable cause to arrest Robert for several crimes…Robert escalated the situation when he failed to follow their lawful commands to drop his weapon and put his hands up. When it became clear that Robert was not going to drop his weapon and that he continued to be an immediate danger to Lisa and the officers involved, the officers acted in proper defense of Lisa and each other when they shot him.”

In her statement of the facts, Ambrozaitis wrote, “On November 21, 2018, at approximately 9:23 pm, Lisa Williams called 9-1-1 from 1930 S. Finley Lake Avenue in Clare County, MI to report that her husband, Robert William Reid, III, had placed a loaded gun to her head and threatened to kill her because she was divorcing him and would “take his money.” She told the dispatcher Reed was “drunker than hell.” During the 14.22 minute long call, Lisa Williams provided information to the dispatcher that was relayed to the responding officers.”

After forcibly taking two hand guns from the bedroom of the house, Reed left the home. Williams said he told her he was going to the garage “to load up the gun.” She told the dispatcher he had, “a whole bunch of guns, rifles, ammunition” there.

Reportedly Reed next went to a camper trailer on the property where he made his Uncle Richard Reed promise to stay in the trailer, telling him that “he (Robert) was going to die tonight, that the cops were coming and that he was not going to let them take his place (home).” Despite his uncle telling him to “lay down the gun, “Reed left the trailer “with an assault rifle with an extended magazine” when officers arrived at the scene.

Shortly after Reed left, Richard told officers during his interview that he heard guns going off.

The officers’ statements and body cam video confirmed that Robert was headed toward the home, and ignored their repeated demands that he drop the weapon he was carrying.

The report by Ambrozaitis said, “…he (Reed) was holding his rifle in such a manner that would have allowed him to immediately engage them (the officers) with gunfire. He was an immediate deadly threat to the responding officers. Secondly, police knew that Lisa was in the home, alone and unarmed after Robert took her handguns away. They knew that, moments before, Robert held a loaded firearm to her head and threatened to kill her.”

“As such, the officers were legally justified in shooting Robert during the course of their duties to apprehend and arrest him.”

Sheriff John Wilson said Thursday, “Sometimes police officers are put in situations where they have to make split second decisions. Those decisions that we are forced to make in only a moment will be torn apart for years afterwards. Taking another human life is nothing any of us in law enforcement ever want to do, but we know we may be forced to make that decision.  I stand with my Deputies and their split second decision they made in reference to this situation.  I thank the Clare County Prosecutor for her intense review of this case.”

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