Break-in suspect led police on chase, fired shots at gas station ceiling, MSP says

Local News

WOODLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A former juvenile lifer wanted for a series of break-ins led police on a chase through Barry County Wednesday and then barricaded himself inside a gas station for nearly seven hours, authorities say.

Timothy Maloy Riddle, 48, of Hastings, was charged Thursday with felonious assault, fleeing and eluding a police officer and resisting and obstructing a police officer. The Barry County Sheriff’s Office added that additional charges “on behalf of multiple police agencies” were expected to be added in coming weeks.

An Aug. 5, 2021, booking photo of Timothy Riddle from the Barry County Jail.

Michigan State Police Detective 1st. Lt. Chuck Christensen said Riddle was wanted for several break-ins that happened in Barry County Wednesday, so investigators put out an alert for area police agencies to be on the lookout for him. He was ultimately spotted by Hastings police, who started chasing him and called in the Barry County Sheriff’s Office to help.

The chase came to an end around 6:30 p.m. at a Mobil gas station on M-43/E. Broadway Street between Harrison Street and Velte Road in Woodland. The tiny village is about 10 miles northeast of Hastings.

Once at the gas station, Christensen said, Riddle got out of his car carrying a shotgun stolen in one of the break-ins. Christensen could not say whether Riddle pointed the gun at pursuing deputies, but noted there is dashboard camera video showing what happened.

A deputy fired several shots, which did not hit anyone.

Christensen said Riddle went into the gas station.

“He did fire some rounds in the store — we don’t think at anybody in particular; up in the ceiling,” Christensen said.

The one customer inside was able to run out of the door, which Riddle had not blocked.

That lone customer told News 8 on Thursday that he had stopped at the station to grab a quick coffee, leaving his car running in the parking lot. He said Riddle never threatened him or even told him to leave.

MSP said two workers stayed hidden inside the gas station but were later able to get out.

Once Riddle barricaded himself inside the store, negotiators were called in. At some point, authorities pulled off the front door.

Around 1:30 a.m., negotiators got Riddle to give himself up without further incident.

In the end, neither he nor anyone else was injured. No one was injured in the break-ins, either.

Michigan State Police are investigating the Barry County deputy’s decision to open fire. That’s standard procedure.

RIDDLE WAS A JUVENILE LIFER

Riddle was previously convicted of killing a woman on July 9, 1988, near Detroit. He was 15 at the time.

The Detroit News reported in November 1988 that Riddle was tried as an adult for bludgeoning 80-year-old Renate Heine to death in her River Rouge home. Police said at the time that Riddle was robbing the place. It was two weeks before Heine’s body was discovered. Riddle was arrested a few days later because witnesses said they had seen him at the home the day Heine died.

Riddle had been living at a boys home in Farmington Hills, according to the Detroit Free Press, where he was frequently fighting and stealing with other kids. He had walked away from the home twice; during the second time, Heine, who lived near his parents, was killed.

According to the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office and Criminal Defense Resource Center, Riddle received a mandatory life sentence. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that mandatory life sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional, Riddle was granted a new sentencing hearing. He was resentenced in February 2017 to between 29 and 60 years, paroled later that year and ultimately released from the Michigan Department of Corrections’ supervision in November 2019.

Almost right away, he started getting in trouble with the law. Since being released from parole, the MSP records show, Riddle has been arrested eight times by various agencies in southwestern, West and mid-Michigan.

“I’m speculating here, but obviously he’d been in prison for murder for life at a very young age, so he was probably institutionalized to a point and when he got out, he went back to the only thing he knew, which was committing crime,” Lt. Christensen said.

Riddle pleaded guilty to a December 2019 third-degree retail fraud ordinance violation out of Eaton County and to a November 2020 case of misdemeanor disturbing the peace out of Hastings. MDOC records also show Riddle is currently on probation after pleading guilty to a Jan. 26 felony larceny in a building in Hastings. That sentence was imposed July 21. That same day, Riddle was arrested again in Hastings and ultimately again pleaded to misdemeanor disturbing the peace.

Barry County Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor Pratt wouldn’t comment on much Thursday, including what additional charges may be filed against Riddle. She did say she will consider his status as a juvenile lifer as she moves forward, but did not clarify how.

Riddle’s bond was set at $500,000 cash or surety at arraignment for the standoff crimes Thursday. He’s expected back in court Aug. 25. If convicted of assault, he faces up to four years in prison. The other two counts are both two-year felonies.

Riddle’s former roommate, Jeff Stanton, said he kicked Riddle out earlier this year, concerned about his erratic behavior.

“He made me a little nervous. I wasn’t sure what he was capable of,” Stanton said. “I think he didn’t know how to live on the outside.”

—News 8’s Jacqueline Francis contributed to this report.

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