Witness recalls officer-involved shooting in Holland Township

Man shot by Ottawa County Deputy identified

HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, MICH. - We now know the name of the man shot and killed by an Ottawa County Deputy Wednesday night.

Michigan State Police have identified the 43-year-old as David Leroy Thelen. The officer-involved shooting occurred on Beeline Road in Holland Township.

Ralph Janssens tells WZZM 13 he was sitting in his apartment when he heard sirens coming towards his place from multiple directions. He walked out of his home and into an active crime scene. 

"You never think anything like that would happen in a quiet neighborhood like this," but on Wednesday night that all changed for Janssens.

"As soon as the door opening they started yelling really loud, stop drop it, show us your hands, repeatedly."

Police were responding to a medical call at the Beeline apartments.

"Police were knocking on the door. When the door opened the police officers started walking backwards and then I thought was unusual," he said.

"Then they drew their pistols and they were yelling at the person in the door 'Drop it, show us your hands, stop, drop the knife'." 

But according to Janssens, Thelen would not drop it.

"I saw a large knife he had it in his right handle kind of cradling it next to him and he was pointing it at the officers," Janssens remembered.  

"He came out of the door and walk towards them and took 3 or 4 steps out of the door until he was in the grassy area of the apartment. He wasn't responding to anything they were saying so they shot him pistol went off three times." 

According to Janssens, David Thelen was a quiet neighbor who lived in the apartment complex for years. 

"At first he moved there as a couple and seemed like just a regular guy, except that he didn't have a car it was her car and he would ride with her," he said.

"But she's moved away and after that he's lived there on his own."

Michigan State Police are investigating the shooting.

The Ottawa County deputy that fired the shots is on administrative leave pending the investigation.

(© 2016 WZZM)


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