Benton Harbor, Mich. (WNDU) -- A man is dead after police say he exchanged gunfire with a Benton Harbor police officer Tuesday morning.
Although police say the resident shot first, they're not sure he knew he was shooting at officers.
Although police have not formally released the man's name, family and friends have identified him as 28-year-old Darius Wimberly.
According to the Benton Harbor Dept. of Public Safety, four officers were dispatched to the 900 block of Pavone St. just after 2:15 a.m. on a report of a man holding another man at gunpoint inside a home.
When officers arrived, they say they approached the home with caution due to the nature of the call. When they knocked on the door, residents said no one had called police. Officials say the residents allowed the officers to look around, and when they didn’t find anything wrong, the officers left.
That’s when investigators say Wimberly began shooting at officers, and they ran for cover. One of the officers returned fire, hitting the gunman. He was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.
"Officers felt as if they were being shot at; one officer described it as having a bullet whiz by his head," explained Benton Harbor Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis. "Pavone is very dark, especially at night, very, very dark, so it's quite possible that it was shooting at movement. We cannot say for sure that he was shooting at officers."
Police say they don't believe Wimberly was attempting to ambush police.
Investigators say they found two guns on Wimberly . An autopsy is being performed Tuesday morning in Grand Rapids.
At a Tuesday morning press conference, police revealed that the initial 911 call came from a person who said that a suspect was targeting someone in the home.
"The individual that showed up at the scene, the suspect if you will, was at that scene because he was targeting the individual at the residence," said Michigan State Police Lt. Chuck Christenson.
No officers were hurt in the exchange. Three of the four officers were wearing body cameras at the time of the shooting, and that video will be released during the course of the investigation.
The officer who shot the suspect is expected to be named soon. He is on paid administrative leave pending the investigation, which is now being handled by Michigan State Police.
FULL RELEASE FROM BHDPS:
On October 18, 2016 at approximately 2:17 a.m., the Benton Harbor DPS was dispatched to an unknown address in the 900 block of Pavone St. in the city of Benton Harbor. The report was that of a male subject being held at gun point by another male subject in a house on Pavone St. The caller described the house as having a certain type of vehicle in the driveway that signified the proper house of the incident in question.
BHDPS officers arrived in the area and made contact with a house that fit the general description of dispatch. Due the nature of the call, officers approached the house with caution. Upon making contact with the residence, the officers were advised that no one from that residence called the police. The residents were cooperative and allowed officers entry to check the house for any signs of trouble. The officers found no signs of trouble. The officers then began to leave residence.
As the officers were exiting the house, an unknown subject emerged from the street and opened fire on the officers. The suspect fired multiple shots. As officers ran for cover, one officer returned fire and
subsequently hit the shooter. Officers found that the suspect was in possession of two handguns on his person. The suspect was taken to Lakeland Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The autopsy for the subject will be held Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. in Grand Rapids. The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation. No officers were injured in the incident. The
Michigan State Police have been called in to conduct the investigation."