KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Two Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officers will have no charges filed against them in the officer-involved shooting death of sex offender Brad Mason.
Kalamazoo County Chief Prosecutor Jeff Getting said the actions of both Officer Timothy Knight and Officer John Vandenberg are justified.
“Public Officer Timothy Knight and Public Safety Officer John Vandenberg’s actions on February 7, 2014 were justified. As a result, no charges will be filed by this office against either of them,” stated Getting.
On February 7, 2014 Mason pointed a Galaxy Model G6 Airsoft handgun at officers. Investigators said Mason had removed the orange tip, and any other pieces that would have identified the gun as an airsoft gun, from the weapon.
“It is indistinguishable from any large frame semi-automatic handgun,” said Getting.
A group of eight to 10 KDPS officers were on the scene of Mason’s home at the time of the shooting. “(Officer Knight and Officer Vandenberg) were each able to hear the commands given to Mason to drop that weapon,” said Getting. “They each saw Mason raise that weapon in his right hand and point it towards the officers. Each fired only after Mr. Mason had pointed the gun at officers in the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.”
As FOX 17 has reported, Mason had abducted and violently sexually assaulted a Kalamazoo woman just two days before he was shot and killed. Police surrounded his home after finding his red pick-up truck parked there, with a large amount of the victim’s blood in the driver’s seat.
Police are calling Mason’s death an officer-assisted suicide, after analyzing evidence including three letters found in envelopes in his apartment; each with language anticipating his death, and one addressed to his mother.
“Finally in the letter to his mother, Mr. Mason had wrote, ‘I have to let go, mom, I will be in peace mother. I hope that you can smile again someday. Please smile for me mom,’” quoted Getting.
Kalamazoo Public Safety Police Chief Jeff Hadley said the officers were both hired in 2007, have received awards of excellence, and have never been discipline for excessive use of force. Chief Hadley told FOX 17 that the officers accept what they had to do.
“I’ve never met an officer in my 23 years in this business that wants to get into an officer-involved shooting that wears it as a badge of honor, that puffs their chest out or anything like that. These officers are good officers, they did what they had to do. I think that they accept that,” explained Hadley.