Housemate: Man shot, killed by Kentwood PD had ‘devil in his eye’

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KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — The roommate of the knife-wielding man shot and killed by a Kentwood police officer late Sunday said he understands why police felt threatened.

The man, identified as 60-year-old Kim Douglas Ropp, was charging at police and was 4 or 5 feet away with a large kitchen knife over his head when the officer opened fire, roommate Vincent Vallo told News 8 Monday.

“It was like a full-grown steak knife,” Vallo said. “It was huge, and he’s charging after them, so I guess they felt threatened.

“He was like the devil was in his eye. He kept going toward the officers. That’s why they ended up shooting him.”

The Kentwood Police Department said officers were called around 10:30 p.m. Sunday for a report of a stabbing at the house on Grantwood Avenue SE near the intersection of Eastern Avenue and 44th Street.

Officers say they arrived to find an active fight inside the home and Ropp armed with a knife. He was shot by an officer and pronounced dead at the scene. 

Vincent Vallo. (Oct. 25, 2021)

The roommates were among nine people at the home for an evening that included dinner, Vallo said.

“We were all hanging out, chillin’, just having a good time,” he said.

But he said Ropp drank too much and started to act strangely.

“Coming in and outside his room, outside of his room with a knife, with his shirt off, walking around the house all day long with two knives,” he said.

Vallo said Ropp stabbed another roommate in the abdomen before going after him. Vallo said he was running away through the kitchen to the side door when police “stormed in.”

“He was trying to stab me,” Vallo said. “He was trying to stab anybody that was in his pathway.”

Police said they opened fire with a beanbag gun to try to defuse the situation. One of the beanbags hit Vallo in the abdomen, leaving a large red welt. Another hit Ropp, police said.

This welt on Vincent Vallo’s abdomen was caused by a nonlethal round fired by Kentwood police. (Oct. 25, 2021)

Vallo said he then heard police yell what he believes were warnings at Ropp. Then, he said, he heard about five gunshots.

He said officers tried to save Ropp, but he died at the scene.

“He was … just like Jason, Michael Myers,” he said. “He was on a rampage for no reason at all.”

Vallo said he had lived with Ropp for about three months.

“He’s the perfect calm, collected guy when he’s sober, but every time he drinks, he acts crazy, makes everybody around him, all the roommates, feel uncomfortable,” he said.

One 37-year-old man from the home was taken to the hospital with multiple stab wounds; he underwent surgery and was later listed in stable condition. No officers were injured.

The officer who shot Ropp, whose name has not been released, is on administrative leave while the Kent County Sheriff’s Office investigates the use of force. That’s standard procedure.

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