7.25.16:  7-year-old boy dies while swimming in western Michigan



CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a 7-year-old boy has died while swimming in a lake in western Michigan while on a church group outing.

The Ottawa County sheriff’s department says a dive team found the child in Crockery Lake in Chester Township on Sunday evening and he was pronounced dead in an ambulance.


Authorities say Natanael Escobar was with a church group from Wyoming and was swimming at Grose Park with an 11-year-old boy when the older child started struggling. They say the younger boy tried to help the older boy, but the 7-year-old didn’t make it back to land.

Crews searched for more than an hour before finding the missing boy.


7.22.16:  Authorities to discuss courthouse shooting investigation



BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Authorities are expected to discuss the investigation into a southwestern Michigan courthouse shooting that left two bailiffs dead.

A news conference is scheduled Friday in Benton Harbor.

The sheriff’s office has said investigators were still conducting interviews and gathering information and evidence from the July 11 shooting in Berrien County Circuit Court in St. Joseph.

Authorities have said a handcuffed 44-year-old Larry Darnell Gordon disarmed Deputy James Atterberry Jr. during a fight and wounded him. Bailiffs Ronald Kienzle and Joseph Zangaro were shot and killed in a public hallway.

A woman also was shot in the arm. Hostages were briefly taken before Gordon was fatally shot by other bailiffs.

Gordon was facing possible life in prison on rape and kidnapping charges involving a 17-year-old girl.


7.20.16:  Kent County authorities attempt traffic stop but driver flees



KENT COUNTY, MI –(Mlive) – A state police trooper reportedly has minor facial injuries after a fight this morning during a traffic stop, triggering a 15-mile police chase.

The pursuit ended on I-96 at Morse Lake Road after the suspect’s vehicle, believed to be a stolen pickup, went through a field as police followed after him. Officers were able to box-in the truck on the highway shortly after the off-road segment of the pursuit.

The trouble began about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday, July 20 when a trooper stopped a pickup truck at the East Beltline and Cascade Road.

Several witnesses then called 911 to report that the trooper was in an altercation with someone outside of the truck. The trooper may have been on the ground at some point, witnesses reported.

After the altercation, two people in the truck were able to drive away and the trooper got back into his cruiser and gave pursuit. Kent County sheriff’s deputies joined the chase.

The truck went east on Burton Street to Cascade Road, then east again to Morse Lake Road where it went into a field for a short time. Some of the officers followed the truck through the field.

Soon after, police boxed-in the truck and took two people into custody.

The trooper was being checked for facial injuries, which were described as minor.

7.19.16:  Runners get another chance to test out Michigan highway 231



GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — Officials are offering people another chance to run on a new stretch of highway in western Michigan.

About 300 people participated in October’s “M23.1k Run.” The 14.3-mile event on Michigan highway 231 took place before the roadway opened to vehicle traffic.

Last year’s run was billed as a one-time event, but organizers say it was so successful they had to bring it back. So registration now is open for the “M23.1k Run & Relay,” which takes place Oct. 1. They say this year’s race will be capped at 500 runners.

The highway stretches 7 miles through rolling countryside and over the Grand River.

Proceeds from the event go to Ottawa County’s non-motorized pathway system, a collection of trails commonly known as bike paths. 2015’s event raised $9,000.


7.18.16:  Hundreds expected to attend funeral of 2nd slain bailiff



BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Hundreds of law enforcement officers are expected to attend the funeral for a bailiff who was killed when an inmate tried to escape from a southwestern Michigan courthouse.

The funeral for 63-year-old Ronald Kienzle of Benton Harbor is scheduled for Monday at the Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College. About 1,500 law enforcement officers attended the funeral for 61-year-old Joseph Zangaro on Friday.

Kienzle and Zangaro were killed July 11 in Berrien County Circuit Court in St. Joseph Larry when Darnell Gordon disarmed Deputy James Atterberry Jr. during a fight and shot him. Gordon was shot and killed. Both Kienzle and Zangaro were retired police officers.


7.14.16:  Events mark 103rd anniversary of President Ford’s birth



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Events marking the 103rd anniversary of the birth of President Gerald Ford are taking place in western Michigan.

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation is hosting Thursday’s ceremonies, which include a wreath-laying tribute at Ford’s tomb in Grand Rapids.

The wreath-laying will be conducted on behalf of President Barack Obama and the Ford family. Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss will present a wreath on behalf of the city.

Following the ceremony, the Ford Presidential Museum will open free to the public through 5 p.m.

Ford died in 2006, and former first lady Betty Ford died in 2011. They lived in Rancho Mirage, California, for decades.

Gerald Ford was a congressman from Grand Rapids before becoming vice president and then president following Richard Nixon’s 1974 resignation.


7.12.16:  Inmate kills 2 bailiffs at Michigan courthouse



ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan sheriff says all indications are that the inmate who fatally shot two bailiffs at a courthouse was trying to break out of custody.

Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey gave new details about the shooting at a press conference Monday evening.

Bailey says the 44-year-old suspect, Larry Darnell Gordon of Coloma, was at the courthouse for a hearing on multiple felony charges.

The sheriff says authorities had “no warning signs” that the suspect would be violent.

Bailey says a deputy who was injured in the shooting is “doing fine” in intensive care after surgery. A woman was also injured. Her name and condition weren’t immediately provided.

During the incident, Bailey says Gordon took hostages for a short period of time before trying to leave through another door. He was killed by other officers.



The ex-wife of  Larry Gordon,  says she spoke with him Sunday and had no indication he was planning an attack.


Authorities say Gordon was being taken from a holding cell to a court hearing when he grabbed a deputy’s gun during a scuffle. He shot and killed two bailiffs, and wounded the deputy and a civilian woman.

Other officers then shot and killed Gordon.


The victims included:

Court officers killed:  Joseph Zangaro and Ronald Kienzle.

Deputy shot in the arm:  James Atterberry Jr.

Civilian shooting victim:  Kenya Ellis



7.11.16:  Zeeland fire chief retiring after 52 years in the department



ZEELAND, Mich. (AP) — Fires in Zeeland? Bill Gruppen probably knows all of them — for the last 52 years.

Gruppen is retiring this fall as the fire chief in the small Ottawa County city, west of Grand Rapids. When he joined the department in 1964, he was just 21 and there were 15 firefighters. Now there are 33.

Gruppen has been chief for nearly 40 years. He tells the Holland Sentinel that he would hop on his bike as a kid and follow fire trucks. He says he always knew the route because the trucks spilled water when they turned a corner.

Art Grimes, who has spent nearly four decades at the fire department, says Gruppen “bleeds Zeeland” and has been a dedicated public servant.



7.11.16:  Body of missing kayaker recovered from Lake Michigan



GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — Authorities in western Michigan say they have recovered the body of a missing kayaker in Lake Michigan.

Grand Haven Public Safety officers say the body of a 23-year-old Sheldon Benson of Coopersville was recovered about 1 a.m. Sunday by the Ottawa County North Dive Team. Divers used sonar to locate his body.

Witnesses reported an overturned kayak near the south pier near Grand Haven State Park about 7 p.m. Saturday. A second man, a 21-year-old from Jackson, was able to swim to shore.

Authorities say the man from Jackson said he tried to help Benson after Benson’s kayak capsized and his kayak also capsized. He said they both tried to swim to shore.


7.6.16:   Boy, 6, dies after being found in Michigan lake



TEXAS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a 6-year-old boy has died after being found in a lake in Kalamazoo County.

The sheriff’s department says Carvell Gene Johnson of Three Rivers was found unresponsive on Sunday afternoon at Crooked Lake in Texas Township.

The department says he was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The suspected drowning is under investigation.

The department says additional details weren’t being immediately released.