Eyewitnesses recount deadly officer-involved shooting - WNEM TV 5

Eyewitnesses recount deadly officer-involved shooting

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Milton Hall Milton Hall
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Tabitha Petty says the memory of Sunday's shooting is still vivid in her mind.

"It was like I was at a taping of a movie and it was not a pretty sight," Petty says.

On Monday, she laid out for TV5, moment by moment, what she saw unfold in the parking lot of the Riverview Plaza shopping center.

"He (the suspect) had to of been there, you're the officer, he had to of been here," Petty said to TV5's Jonathan Lowe as she explained how officers were facing the suspect.

Officers were called to the shopping center after clerks at a nearby gas station complained about 49-year-old Milton Hall's behavior inside the store.

When officers arrived at the scene, and over a span of the next 30 minutes, the confrontation between officers and a knife-wielding Hall moved to the parking lot and escalated.

"Next thing I know he (Hall) did a half turn and they shot him down," Petty explained.

Hall later died at a local hospital. Petty says she doesn't understand why police shot Hall. The officers, she says, had a K-9 unit as well as Tasers on their hips.

"That was way too much force, it don't take all of that for one person, he's one person, he didn't have no guns," Petty said emphatically.

Monday, TV5 took that Tough Question to investigators: Did officers use excessive force?

"We're aware of these statements. We sent those witnesses that we talked to (at the scene) down to the Saginaw Police Department to be interviewed by the independent investigators from the Michigan State Police," said Saginaw County Prosecutor Mike Thomas.

Thomas says Sunday's incident was a chaotic scene. And since investigators have a lot to comb over, the public should not rush to judgment.

"I can assure you that we are performing this investigation as thoroughly, as expeditiously, as completely as possible," he added.

TV5 is learning more about who Hall was. He was asked to leave the Saginaw City Rescue Mission because he refused to submit to a mental health exam. Hall stayed at the city's homeless shelter from April to July 2011 before being released. Shelter directors say if Hall had accepted a mental health exam, he could have stayed at the shelter indefinitely.

Thomas also said that an autopsy on Hall is scheduled for Tuesday.

Two investigators with Michigan State Police are handling the investigation into Sunday's officer-involved shooting. When it is complete, they will turn over their findings to Thomas, whose team will decide how to proceed.

Thomas says anyone who witnessed Sunday's incident can reach MSP at 989-777-3700.

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