Review shows Ottawa County deputy acted in self-defense

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The fatal shooting scene on Nov. 23 in Holland Township.

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — A Prosecutor’s Review has ruled that a deputy who fatally shot a Holland Township man last month acted in self-defense.

On Nov. 23, 43-year-old Holland Township resident David Leroy Thelen Jr. was fatally shot by a deputy responding to a medical emergency call at Thelen’s apartment on Beeline Road.

Shortly after 8 p.m. that day, deputies and an AMR ambulance crew were dispatched to Thelen’s apartment. Faced with Thelen advancing toward him carrying a large knife, Deputy Joshua Barton ordered Thelen to drop the weapon. Thelen failed to comply with the deputy’s repeated commands and continued advancing toward Barton.

When faced with this threat, the deputy fired his service handgun three times, striking and killing Thelen.

“I have concluded that Deputy Barton acted in lawful self-defense and defense of others,” Ottawa County Prosecutor Ronald Frantz said in the Prosecutor’s Review released Friday. “The killing of Thelen was legally justified.”

He said no criminal charges will be filed in the case.



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