LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Two Jackson County Sheriff’s Department deputies will not receive criminal charges for their roles in the death of a homicide suspect in July, Jackson County Prosecutor Jerard Jarzynka said in a written statement Friday.
David McCluer, 33, died in the hospital on Aug. 3 after a shooting involving Jackson County Deputies Christopher Davis and Theodore Breijak.
Jarzynka, in a letter addressed to the Michigan State Police, says Davis and Breijak acted in self-defense, as McCluer refused instructions to drop a knife and a hammer he was carrying. Davis and Breijak shot McCluer after he pulled back the hammer and threw it at the deputies on the scene.
“It is my opinion that Deputy Davis and Deputy Breijak were justified in discharging their service weapons to protect the life of a fellow deputy as well as their own lives. The use of deadly force in this case would certainly not rise to the level necessary to render criminal charges against these deputies,” Jarzynka said in the written statement released Friday.
According to the prosecutor’s office, Davis and Breijak were among the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputies called on July 30 at around 7:08 p.m. to perform a welfare check on 55-year-old Karen Tobin at a residence on the 3000 block of Robinson Road in Jackson County.
Upon arrival, deputies discovered Karen Tobin dead inside the home. Her daughter, Makenzie Tobin, reported to Jackson County that her brother, 33-year-old David McCluer, had been threatening to kill Karen Tobin, his mother, for several weeks.
McCluer quickly became a suspect in Karen Tobin’s death. That night, as deputies investigated the scene of her murder, McCluer drove his deceased mother’s car to the residence at a high speed and rammed into two sheriff patrol cars at the scene.
He then got out of the car with a hammer in his right hand and a knife in his left, after which body cam videos showed him pacing back and forth on the road. Three deputies approached McCluer and told him to drop his weapons and get on the ground. McCluer refused and, about a minute later, threw the hammer at the deputies.
Jackson County Det. Sgt. Bryan Huttenlocker raised his arms to shield himself from the hammer, at which point Davis and Breijak fired their service weapons at McCluer, according to the document from the prosecutor.
McCluer was struck by several rounds and fell to the ground, still clutching the knife. The deputies engaged him with medical attention until an ambulance arrived. McCluer was pronounced dead four days later, on Aug. 3, after he was taken off life support. The autopsy report concluded that he had died of multiple gunshot wounds, as the result of a homicide.
Jarzynka concludes in his report that McCluer “presented an immediate danger of death or great bodily harm to the deputies, especially to Det. Sgt. Huttenlocker, who was close to him as McCluer held the weapons in his hands.”
The evidence reviewed in the case included a Michigan State Police incident report, supplemental MSP police reports, MSP lab reports, body cam video of deputies Davis and Breijak as well as other body cam videos, photos, 911 recordings and logs, search warrants, autopsy and toxicology reports, an MSP man of the scene and police reports from the sheriff’s department, according to Jarzynka’s statement.