DOWLING, Mich. — Investigators says they are “fairly confident” alcohol was a factor in the incident leading up to Barry County deputies shooting and killed a man outside his mother’s home Saturday.
MSP Detective Chuck Christiansen says a full toxicology report on the body of Ralph Elliot III, 41, will be completed soon.
Deputies were called to a home in the 9800 block of Banfield Road in Baltimore Township around 7:00 Saturday night. The home belongs to Elliot’s mother Linda. Elliot shared a home with his wife and two of their children just next door.
Christiansen says Elliot’s wife Jackie called 911 from a neighbor’s house, saying her husband had a gun. Elliot fired two shots before deputies arrived on scene.
The MSP investigation reveals that Elliot had two handguns at some point during the standoff. It is still uncertain whether or not those weapons were drawn when deputies opened fire. Five shots were discharged by deputies; Elliot was hit twice.
In nearby Dowling, Elliot co-owned the Elliot Body Shop with his mother. Bruce Campbell owns the Dowling General Store just across the street and remembers feeling right at home with Elliot when they moved in five years ago.
“He was the one in the community that came and welcomed us into the community and told us if we needed anything,” he says. ”He stuck to it. Any time you needed a favor, something to help us out, he’s there.”
A sign is posted on the Shop’s front door now: “Sorry for any inconvenience, but the body shop is temporarily closed. Thank you.”
A check of his criminal record shows Elliot was charged with domestic abuse in August 2012. Campbell and other friends say that had been a turning point for the 41-year-old, staying clean and sober since that incident. Campbell remembers Elliot even coming into the store on Wednesday and requesting a box of cigars for the weekend to celebrate a sobriety milestone.
One deputy involved in the shooting has been put on paid leave during the investigation. Christiansen expects more information to be released on Tuesday.