Spectrum Health reviews security after officer shooting

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Police have launched a search for the suspect accused of targeting vehicles in a hospital parking garage and shooting a security officer.

Police say the security officer was shot after he caught the man trying to break into cars on Sunday night. WZZM 13 has learned that Spectrum Health is now taking several steps to try making the parking garages safer.

WZZM 13 received photos of three break-ins from a Spectrum Health employee, including one break-in from Saturday night. Police say the next night, one of the hospital's security officers saw someone breaking into a car at Ramp 7.

"The security guard did an awesome job following him out of the parking ramp, that's when the suspect produced the weapon and fired at him," says Captain Jeffrey Hertel with the Grand Rapids Police Department.

The bullet hit the officer in the leg and the suspect took off.

"We're out right now canvassing that neighborhood right north of the expressway," says Captain Hertel.

Spectrum Health sent a letter to employees in May about previous break-ins at the parking garages. It warns them to lock their vehicles, hide valuable items and report anything suspicious. The hospital is now looking at doubling its security force from ten to twenty officers per shift and they may soon carry weapons as well.

"The supervisors are now carrying Tasers and in July, late July, we'll be getting our first canine unit," says Rick Redetzke, vice president of facilities for Spectrum Health.

Right now, vehicles need special access for the parking garages, but anyone can walk into the structure.

"I think we're going to be looking at everything from our physical security, everything from lighting inside the parking ramps to make it brighter," says Redetzke.

The hospital is also looking at limiting how many ways people can get in and out of the parking ramp.

Police are still looking at surveillance video to try to identify the suspect. Investigators say they don't know if all of the break-ins are connected. No suspects are in custody at this time. Anyone with information in the case is asked to call police at (616) 456-3604 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.


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