GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN -- Awakened by the sound of kicking at his front door, a Southeast Side
man confronted and shot an intruder in his living room early today,
then shot some more as he chased the burglar outside.
The 50-year-old homeowner, who lives alone in the 800 block of
Merritt Street SE, shot the intruder twice with a 9 mm semi-automatic
Police said they caught the intruder two blocks away and rushed him
to Saint Mary's Mercy Medical Center, where he was treated for
wounds that were not life-threatening. It wasn't clear where he was
Shots struck three homes across the street in the neighborhood
southeast of Eastern Avenue and Burton Street SE.
"You never think nothing like this will ever happen to you," the
homeowner, Sherman L. Rose, said about two hours after the
shooting. "I'm a little scared right now, but I'll be OK."
The shooting was reported about 7:15 a.m., moments after Rose was
awakened by the kicking, said Grand Rapids Police Detective Phil
"He comes down the stairs and as soon as he gets to the bottom, the
front door flies open," Betz said. "He says something to the guy, and
the guy makes a move. That's when the first shot is fired."
The homeowner chased the intruder, described as a teen-age male, out
the front door, firing his 9 mm semi-automatic as he went, Betz said.
Neighbors said they heard six shots.
The intruder ran across Burton and Eastern to the front porch of a
relative's home in the 700 block of Ardmore Street SE, police said.
Relatives called police.
Rose said he didn't want to discuss details of the shooting.
Across the street, one bullet penetrated the second-floor of a house,
another struck a house just above the living room windows, and a
third house was struck in the siding at the bottom of an enclosed front
porch. Nobody else was injured.
"We heard it, but by the time we looked out we didn't see anything,"
said Jennifer Ziegler, whose house was struck by gunfire. "We thought
we'd hear the sirens, but when we didn't we figured everything was
OK. This is usually a very quiet neighborhood."
When examining the hole in the siding above her living room window,
Ziegler said, "Oh yeah, that wasn't there before. Lovely."
Evidence technicians marked and photographed spent shell casings
ejected from the gun in the homeowner's front yard, finding some on
Police took Rose's gun with two clips of ammunition. Betz said the
gun is properly registered and equipped with a trigger lock.
Detectives questioned Rose in his home. Betz described the man as
gainfully employed. "He doesn't appear to be someone who would
bring anything like this onto himself," Betz said.
After police left, Rose used a large hammer to pound his front door
back into place. Then he sat on the sofa in his living room, shivering.
Police said they planned to turn over the investigation to the Kent
County Prosecutor's Office, which would determine whether the
shooting was justified.
Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth's most recent rulings have
been on the side of merchants who fire in self defense, though the
targets in those cases were clearly armed with guns.
In January 2000, the prosecutor declined to bring charges against a
store owner who chased a gun-carrying robber from Boston Square
Lock and Key, at 1254 Kalamazoo Ave. SE. One bullet from Rick
DeHaan's 9-mm handgun struck the robber in the arm.
In September 1999, Forsyth also decided against charging the owner
of a Southeast Side cellular telephone store who exchanged gunshots
with a would-be robber. Stan Schley fired two shots at a man who he
said pulled a gun on him inside his store at 2024 Eastern Avenue SE.
The bandit fled, apparently unscathed.
A decade ago, Rockford District Judge Steven Servaas tossed out the
charges against a man who fired into the side of a car being used by
four teen-agers to flee after they broke into his store on Camp Lake.
The judge cited Norris Sprague's right to use deadly force to halt
fleeing felons, even though the criminals weren't known to be armed.
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN -- Calling the shooting justifiable, Kent County
Prosecutor William Forsyth will not charge a Southeast Side man with wounding a
teen who reportedly kicked in the man's front door last week.
Sherman L. Rose, 50, shot the 16-year-old boy in the leg and upper chest.
"In fairness to this homeowner, he shouldn't have to worry about this
over the Thanksgiving holiday," Forsyth said today. "It was a pretty
clear cut thing."
State law permits the use of deadly force when life is threatened or a felony
has been committed and force is necessary to apprehend the fleeing felon.
The suspect remains under police guard in Saint Mary's Mercy Medical Center.
The youth has yet to be charged with any crime.
Because of his status as a juvenile -- he turns 17 at the end of the month --
a hearing may first be required in Kent County Family Court to determine if he
should be charged as an adult. Police, who have declined to identify the youth,
said they have had prior contact with him as a criminal suspect.
The shooting occurred about 7:15 a.m. Friday in the entryway of Rose's home
on Merrit Street SE.
Rose told investigators he carried his 9 mm semiautomatic handgun downstairs
when awakened. He said he reached the bottom of the stairs just as the front
door burst open. The teen stood no more than 10 feet away.
While police don't believe the teen was armed, Rose told detectives the
intruder "made a move," and he started shooting.
Neighbors reported hearing as many as six shots. Bullets struck three houses
across from Rose's home. Police found spent cartridges from the gun on Rose's
The wounded teen ran two blocks and collapsed on a relative's porch. His
relatives called police.
Police confiscated Rose's properly registered handgun and the trigger lock
Rose had used on it.
This is the second time in 15 months that Forsyth has decided a high-profile
shooting is justified.
In August 2000, the prosecutor declined to charge a West Side Party Store
clerk who shot and wounded a man who allegedly implied he had a gun and grabbed
cash from the store's till.
Forsyth's stance was criticized largely because the clerk was intoxicated at
the time of the shooting. The clerk's blood-alcohol level was 0.145, above the
level considered drunk under state motor vehicle laws.
Friday's case also is similar to one in 1989, when charges were pressed
against a Sparta party store owner who shot at a car containing four teens
fleeing after two attempted to break into the man's closed store. One of his
bullets pierced the car door and struck a female passenger. The store owner was
charged, but the judge eventually dismissed the charges, saying the shopkeeper
had the right to use deadly force.
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