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Video shows Benton Harbor officer scrambling during deadly shooting

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police are releasing body camera footage from an officer-involved shooting that killed one man in Benton Harbor.

Darius Wimberly, 28, died at hospital shortly after the Tuesday morning shooting on Pavone Street near Benton Harbor High School.

Darius Wimberly
An undated courtesy photo of Darius Wimberly.

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety said officers were called to a home in the area on a report of a possible hostage situation involving a gunman. Officers discovered no one from the home had called police. The residents allowed officers to search the home, but authorities found nothing suspicious.

The one-minute video shared by MSP Wednesday shows officers leaving the home and talking with a resident of the home when the gunfire begins.

Authorities said a man emerged from the street and fired between four and five shots toward the residents of the house and the officers.

“Oh, (expletive)! Shots fired! Shots fired!” One officer can be heard yelling amid the gunfire.

The video shows an officer running for cover, jumping two fences during his escape. MSP said the officer briefly turned his weapon in the direction of the gunfire, but he was not the officer who shot Wimberly.

About 20 rounds can be heard in the video. Investigators believe the officer who returned fire fired 15 rounds out of a .223 carbine; it’s unclear how many of those shots hit Wimberly.

Much of the footage is dark because of lack of area lighting and because it was 2:15 a.m. at the time of the shooting. MSP said the video was muted for about 14 seconds to protect private information of the resident police spoke with before the shooting.

Michigan State Police Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen said Tuesday it appears the suspected shooter was targeting someone inside the home and not trying to ambush officers. Officers say Wimberly had two handguns on him at the time.

No officers were injured during the shooting.

During a candlelight vigil Tuesday night, Wimberly’s family joined community leaders’ in their calls for peace and justice as the investigation progresses.

Darius Wimberly, Benton Harbor, officer-involved shooting, candlelight vigil
A candlelight vigil for Darius Wimberly on Pavone Street Benton Harbor the night after he was shot and killed by a police officer. (Oct. 18, 2016)

Following standard procedure, the officer who shot Wimberly is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of MSP’s investigation.

Darius Wimberly
An undated mug shot of Darius Wimberly. (Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety)

Prosecutors will investigate why the suspect was shooting at the house and whether the officer’s use of deadly force was justified. Benton Harbor DPS will also conduct an internal investigation to make sure all department policies and procedures were followed.

Investigators said Wimberly had a criminal record, but did not disclose details.

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