GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man wanted for murdering his ex-girlfriend took his own life after shooting at police when they came looking for him Thursday, the Grand Rapids Police Department says.
Chief Eric Winstrom said cellphone video recorded by a bystander shows Patrick Jones holding a gun to his head, at which point a single gunshot is heard.
“…There were no police officers in the area and no police officers fired their gun when that gunshot can be heard on various audio systems,” Winstrom said at a Friday news conference at GRPD headquarters.
Police released dashboard, body camera and bystander cellphone video about an hour after the news conference. Explaining the delay, they said it took a while for the video to render.
The cellphone video shows Jones hold the gun to his head, then pans away when the actual shot is fired. When it pans back, Jones is lying on the ground. Dashcam video shows an officer getting a report of a gunshot and then driving up on where the body lay, partially in the street, and reporting it. Two other officers then approach the body on foot. Police released a blurred still image from body camera showing Jones lying on the ground, a gun near his hand.
Winstrom said an autopsy showed Jones sustained only one gunshot wound — the one that killed him. He said the Michigan State Police investigation into the shooting is expected to show Jones’ death was a suicide.
DASHCAM: ‘SHOTS FIRED; IT’S HIM’
Members of GRPD’s Special Response Team — the SWAT team — headed to the area of Jefferson Avenue and Labelle Street SE around noon Thursday after getting a tip that Jones may be there. Dashboard camera video shows their cruiser approach a man on the sidewalk. It shows the man — Jones — clock the cruiser, face it, pull a gun and start shooting directly at it.
“What you’ll see in the video is the patrol car’s hood, windshield struck. You’ll see glass spraying these officers, who thought there was a chance that they could have been hit. It was very chaotic,” Winstrom described as the press conference.
Bodycam video shows the officer in the passenger’s seat return fire through his side window, shattering it. The officer behind the wheel did not stop, instead driving away quickly as the siren started blaring.
“Shots fired, shots fired. It’s him!” one officer can be heard shouting over his radio.
“Are you OK?” his partner asked. “Are you hit?”
“Yeah, I’m good. Are you good?” he replied.
“I don’t know,” the partner said.
“Both officers are OK for now. Our cruiser’s lit up,” one officer reports over his radio as the cruiser pulls over and stops.
“You’ll see them talking to each other. They’re saying, ‘Are you hit, are you hit?” And the answer is, ‘I don’t know.’ Because it’s such an intensely traumatic situation that as a police officer, when you encounter fire like that, you really don’t know,” Winstrom said. “You’ll see the officers step out of the car and they’ll literally pat each other down to see if there’s blood, to see if there’s any pain.”
No officers were shot.
A neighbor who watched the shooting happen from inside his home on Labelle said he saw Jones fire first.
“I was watching from my window,” the 22-year-old, who didn’t want to be identified, told News 8 Friday.
“(The suspect) got out of the car right up there on Jefferson,” the witness said. “He started shooting at the police as they came past. After that, two more police cars pull into the alleyway, driveway and then he got into it with them.”
The witness said he counted 10 gunshots in all.
“I was nervous. I thought he might have saw me through my window, that’s why I got nervous,” he said.
The witness captured video of part of the shootout on his phone. His mom’s surveillance camera shows the suspect running south through the alley after the exchange of gunfire, then disappearing between some garages. The only way out was to jump a chain-link fence on Jefferson and head toward Southeast Career Pathways High School. He died on Cass Avenue on the east side of the school.
Winstrom initially said Thursday that three officers shot back at but on Friday clarified that only two officers opened fire. Three officers — the two who fired shots and one more who did not — were placed on administrative leave. Michigan State Police are investigating the use of force, which is standard procedure.
Winstrom called the officers ‘heroes’ and said that he believes their response was justified.
SISTER: JONES AFRAID OF PRISON
Police say Jones shot his ex-girlfriend, Tamiqua Wright, in the head on Oct. 11 while she was driving and he was her passenger. The car crashed and Jones took off, police said. They had been looking for him since then and believed he was hiding around the city. Winstrom said GRPD is looking into who may have been harboring Jones between the murder and his death.
The police chief also praised the anonymous tipster who used Silent Observer to point officers to where Jones would be.
“Most people in the community, they want to do the right thing. But the reality is in some criminal incidents, there’s a fear there,” Winstrom said. “In this case, this man was known to a lot of individuals in the community as someone they were afraid of.”
He said Silent Observer allowed people to come forward with information without that fear.
Wright, 30, left behind five children. Family recalled her as sweet, hardworking and a devoted mother.
Jones’ sister, Taneaka Scott, said she thinks he shot at police because he didn’t want to go back to prison.
“The way I feel about that is my brother has been labeled as a felon … and now as a killer, but since he has a bad history, he looked at it as his story wasn’t going to be believable and he didn’t want to probably go back,” Scott told News 8 Friday. “He wasn’t trying to get his freedom taken, ’cause he’s been locked up pretty much all his life.”
State police records show Jones had a criminal history dating back to 2016 that included convictions on larceny, weapons counts, assault and assaulting or resisting police charges. The police chief said he also had previous domestic violence arrests. He was recently out of prison and had absconded from parole.
Scott said her brother told her he didn’t kill Wright. She believed him. She said police pulled her over Tuesday to ask if she knew where her brother was.
“They just wanted to know what information that I knew,” she said. “I told them I didn’t know anything.”
She said she didn’t know why he would have been at the house at Jefferson and Labelle.
Three days after Wright died, Jones recorded a song in which he rapped, “Give me some hope to help myself, don’t make me shoot something. ‘Cause last night I had a dream where I died on the scene with a pocket full of new money.”
“…I’m not saying my brother was perfect. He made wrong decisions, but this one he wanted to make a change and I seen it and the family seen it,” Scott said. “We wanted him to go the right way.”