Prosecutor: Use of deadly force justified in Midland officer-inv - WNEM TV 5

Prosecutor: Use of deadly force justified in Midland officer-involved shooting

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Jaden Marsh (Courtesy photo) Jaden Marsh (Courtesy photo)
MIDLAND, MI (WNEM) -

The Midland County Prosecutor’s Office said there will be no criminal charges in connection with a deadly officer-involved shooting in Midland in March.

It started about 1:39 a.m. on Monday, March 12 in the 2000 block of E. Ashman Street in Midland.

The Midland Police Department said they were called to the area for reports of two people breaking into a vehicle.

When Midland Police Officers Mark Stefaniak and Jerry Wilson arrived, they said two people took off running.

According to a report from the prosecutor’s office, when the officers spotted two males fitting the description of the suspects, Stefaniak stopped his vehicle, yelled “police” and made contact with one of the two suspects.

The other suspect, later identified as 16-year-old Jaden Marsh, began running westbound along E. Ashman, according to the report.

Wilson chased Marsh as Stefaniak placed the first suspect in custody.

MORE: Teen in officer-involved shooting released with tether

Wilson told investigators he identified himself as a police officer while giving chase, and “repeated commands” for Marsh to stop running. That’s when Wilson said he drew his taser and warned Marsh if he kept running, he would be tased. According to Wilson, Marsh stumbled, got up and continued to run, but Wilson was able to close the distance.

At that point, according to Wilson, Marsh turned and opened fire. Wilson said he was close enough “that he could feel the concussion from the gun shots.” That’s when Wilson, indicating  he was fearing for his life, dropped his taser and flashlight, drew his gun and returned fire until Marsh fell to the ground, according to the report.

Wilson then radioed for assistance and walked up to the suspect who was laying on the ground still holding a handgun, according to the report.

Sgt. Armstead arrived at the scene about 18 seconds after the call for “shots fired” and found Marsh lying face down with a handgun in his “right hand and his index finger against the trigger,” according to the report.

Armstead said he didn’t find any signs of life and carefully removed the gun from Marsh’s right hand.

An autopsy found Marsh had a large presence of gunpowder residue on the right side of his head, and his death was labeled a suicide.

Marsh had also been shot in the right leg.

Investigators also report Marsh’s father, Todd, indicated he assumed his son was dead when he was first contacted by police that morning. The father told investigators he had been told by another son that Jaden had texted his brother a picture of a gun and Jaden had previously told his father that he would shoot at the police if he was caught again.

MORE: Father describes teen's state of mind before shooting

The first suspect also said Jaden had threatened to kill himself hours before the incident began. The first suspect said he went with Jaden, supposedly heading for the K-Mart Store, to keep him from killing himself, according to the prosecutor’s report.

Investigators also found a note Jaden had left at the other suspect’s home just before they left. It was addressed to Jaden's former girlfriend and stated in part:

“This decision that I’m making is going to hurt a … ton of people, I know. I’m selfish & I couldn’t possibly say sorry enough times. Please understand its been my goal to do this for a very long time, years before I met you. I don’t think I should’ve ever been born, all I contributed to this world has been a whole lot of problems.”

The prosecutor’s office determined the police officer’s use of deadly force was justified.

Click here to read the prosecutor's full report

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