KALAMAZOO, Mich. (Feb. 10, 2014) — “This incident has left a trail of victims,” Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley said in a press conference Monday.
Friday, officers fired several shots that killed Brad Mason, who was waving what appeared to be a handgun at the officers. The gun turned out to be a Galaxy Airsoft handgun with its orange safety tip removed.
Chief Hadley said two officers have taken excused time off after the incident.
On Friday, officers arrived at the William Welsh Terrace Apartments, looking for the suspect who they believe is responsible for the rape and abduction of a 24-year-old woman the night of Feb. 5. There, they said, they arrived to find the suspect, Brad Mason, walking down the stairs of his apartment with a handgun.
“At that time public safety officers retreated outside the vestibule to the porch area … Brad Allen Mason continued forward with the handgun in his hand and was pointing it towards the officers and detectives,” Chief Hadley said.
That’s when several shots were fired, many of them believed to have hit Mason. Hadley said Mason fell on the front porch and died at the scene.
After the press conference, Hadley released a picture of a Galaxy Airsoft handgun, the one he said Mason pointed at the officers.
“This incident has left a trail of victims,” Hadley said. “The victim of the abduction and rape who endured a horrendous life event for which she will suffer inevitably for many years to come. The family of Mr. Mason who now must deal with the attention of this event while mourning the loss of their son and last, but certainly not least, our public safety officers.”
Mason’s girlfriend was inside the apartment with him when officers arrived that night, Hadley said. “When Mr. Mason learned of our presence at the front door of 103 West Dutton Street, he told her (his girfriend) quote, ‘The police are here for me. They’re going to have to kill me,'” Hadley said.
Mason’s girlfriend said she and Mason bought the Airsoft gun just last year, according to Hadley. “She also advised that immediately upon the purchase Mr. Mason removed the orange safety tip from the handgun. It would be impossible for anyone, including officers, to distinguish this weapon from any other weapon.”
Hadley has not identified the officers involved in the shooting but said at this point in the investigation, he has every reason to believe they were justified in firing their weapons.