The Barry County Prosecutor’s Office has cleared Michigan State Police Trooper David Williams of any wrongdoing in connection with the April 2 shooting of Ryan L. Miller of Middleville, a prosecutor’s office news release said Tuesday.
Evidence revealed Williams was acting in self-defense and defense of another when he shot Miller while in the parking lot of the Thornapple Valley Church in Rutland Township in Barry County, the release said.
Miller has been charged with six felonies and one misdemeanor arising from the incident: Felonious assault, resisting and obstructing a police officer, four weapons/firearm violations, and cruelty to animals causing death. He is also a habitual offender-fourth notice.
Miller faces the possibility of a total of 17 years in prison on the first six counts and one year in jail for animal cruelty. The habitual offender, fourth notice, could carry a maximum of life in prison.
A review of witness statements, videos and previous investigative reports revealed that Miller may have been attempting “suicide by cop,” by deliberately behaving in a threatening manner, intending to provoke a lethal response from a public safety or law enforcement officer, according to the release.
Miller was arraigned Wednesday in Barry County Circuit Court by Judge Amy McDowell. His bond was set at $500,000. The high bond was requested because Miller placed everyone in harm’s way during the incident. Miller’s probable cause conference on all charges is set for June 6. //
According to the prosecutor’s office, Williams was attempting to arrest Miller on several outstanding warrants after receiving a tip that he would be in the parking lot of the Thornapple Valley Church south of Hastings.
Miller, who was facing unrelated criminal charges, had left the state with his girlfriend for several days, causing concern among members of both families. When Williams entered the church parking lot, Miller attempted to drive around his patrol car, but Williams was able to block him from leaving.
When Williams got out of his car and ordered Miller out of his car at gunpoint, he refused to comply, instead he opened his car door and began to raise his hands near his head, but then lowered his hands and yelled an obscenity at Williams, while reaching into the upper left breast pocket of his coat with his right hand.
As Williams continued to order him to “get on the ground” Miller pulled what appeared to be a black handgun from his coat. In fear for his life and that of Miller’s girlfriend, Williams shot at Miller three times. Miller continued to point the hand gun at him so Williams shot at him again, striking him in the right shoulder and left foot. Miller’s girlfriend was unharmed, however her dog, which was in the back seat of the car, was killed.
Trooper Anthony Adams arrived a short time later and assisted Williams. Adams retrieved Miller’s gun, identified as a black BB gun, and two knives from his pants pockets. Miller was taken to the hospital where he was eventually released and then lodged at the Barry County Jail.
A full investigation was completed and a report turned over to Barry County Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor-Pratt.
“While we are very grateful that there was no loss of human life, we are disheartened by the death of the dog, and we consider Ryan Miller responsible for that loss. We would like to thank Dr. Seidel and Seidel Veterinary Hospital for their efforts to save the dog,” Nakfoor-Pratt said.