MSP: Suspect killed in exchange of gunfire during Kalamazoo standoff

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Police say the shooting suspect who was holed up for hours inside a house in Kalamazoo died following an exchange of gunfire with police.

He was identified as Alex Rawls, 35, of Kalamazoo.

Rawls was wanted in connection to a shooting that injured a woman on Nov. 1, police say. He barricaded himself inside a house on Washington Avenue near the intersection of Division for 16 hours, starting around 10:45 a.m. Monday and ending around 3 a.m. Tuesday, Michigan State Police said in a tweet.

The suspect fired multiple times at officers, MSP said. No officers were hit or injured, though a shed where an officer was positioned was hit once and the windshield of an armored truck with an officer in the driver’s seat was hit twice.

A deputy from the Kalamazoo Sheriff’s Office and an officer from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety returned fire. MSP says the suspect was hit an “undetermined number of times.”

After the exchange of shots, officers used a drone to look for the suspect “out of an abundance of caution,” MSP said.

Once police determined he was not a threat, officers entered the home and found him dead on the second floor.

Parts of the home appeared to have been torn down during the standoff. A News 8 crew on scene Tuesday evening saw a crew tearing the home down further.

An autopsy has been ordered. MSP has been called in to investigate. That’s standard procedure when officers use deadly force. Per department policy, the two officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave. That’s standard procedure, too.

Once MSP’s investigation is completed, the case will be forwarded to the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office, which will decide whether the officers were justified in opening fire.

Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Jim VanDyken confirmed Rawls is the same man who broke into an Oshtemo Township apartment in November 2019 and was fended off by a resident wielding a battle ax, sustaining at least one hit to the torso. Rawls ultimately pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced in January of this year to jail with credit for time served.

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