Investigation Complete: Prosecutor Finds Shooting of Lincoln Township Man Lawful
By ANGELA KELLOGG
Cleaver Managing Editor
Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis released this statement Tuesday, March 12 regarding the investigation of the death of Robert William Reid III.
On November 21, 2018, Clare County Sheriff’s Deputies were involved in a shooting that resulted in the death of Robert Reid III. The Michigan State Police 6th District Headquarters conducted the investigation. Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis spent over 100 hours reviewing case related material, conducting legal research, and consulting other resources. Based upon the review of all those materials, Prosecutor Ambrozaitis has determined that the shooting was legally justified and that no charges will be filed against the officers involved.
In the statement data Ambrozaitis recognizes how traumatic an officer-involved shooting is for the community. Her review of case-related materials included body cameras of the officers from the beginning of the incident until they left the scene, 9-1-1 calls, Michigan State Police reports, written statements of the officers, recorded interviews of the witnesses, cell phone reports and 13 other sources. Ambrozaitis also had personal knowledge of the scene as she conferred with detectives after the incident.
The incident took place on Nov. 21, and Lisa Williams called 911 at 9:23 p.m. and stated her husband was drunk and threatening her with a handgun. Information in the more than 14-minute call was relayed to responding deputies Sgt. Aaron Miller and Deputies Steven Sentz, Ryan Weakman and Sean Gerbe. They were advised that an intoxicated male, Robert William Reid III, had pointed a loaded gun at his wife’s head; was someone that law enforcement had previously dealt with; was the owner of numerous guns; had taken Williams’ two handguns from the bedside table; that Williams was unable to get out of the house and had advised that Reid would not hesitate to shoot. Four prior domestic violence investigations were on file with Clare County Sheriff Department and the Clare City Police Department.
All officers were wearing department issued uniforms and driving sheriff department marked patrol vehicles. Sgt. Miller drove his vehicle into the 1,600-foot driveway while the other officers parked halfway up the driveway and walked in using his car for cover.
The prosecutor’s opinion statement contained the following description of events:
Sergeant Miller stopped his vehicle when officers saw Robert “Bob” Reid III, armed with a rifle, step out of the camper and start walking toward the residence. Robert carried the rifle across the front of his body with the muzzle and foregrip on the left side of his body, slightly raised from the ground, and his right hand held the pistol grip. Over a 25-second time frame, each officer gave Robert multiple commands to “drop the gun,” “drop the gun now,” and called him “Bob” when they gave those commands. Robert continued to walk away from the officers toward the residence. At least one of the officers, possibly more than one, can be heard on body camera stating, “don’t let him in the house.” When it became clear that Robert was not going to obey the commands to drop the gun, and when he continued to walk toward the home where Lisa was located, Sergeant Miller, Deputy Sentz, and Deputy Weakman simultaneously fired their weapons at Robert over a time span of less than 3 seconds. Once Robert fell to the ground, the officers simultaneously ceased fire, approached him, and continued to shout commands for him to put his hands where they could see them. Deputy Sentz noted a handgun in front of Robert and advised the other officers. Deputy Sentz approached Robert while the other officers provided cover. He placed Robert in handcuffs and removed the handgun and the rifle that was under Robert. The officers continued to search Robert’s person and located two additional firearms, and a knife. In total, Robert had four firearms on his person at the time of the shooting – two were Lisa’s, which he had taken from her by force earlier in the evening.
Once the officers determined that Robert was weaponless and they were safe, they began to render emergency aid until emergency medical responders arrived on scene. Robert’s time of death was pronounced by MMR responders at 9:52 p.m.
Also, at the scene was Reid’s uncle, Richard Reid. He was secured in the back of a patrol car while MMR administered aid to Reid and Williams’ safety was secured and she was questioned.
The opinion statement continued:
A team of detectives from the 6th District Headquarters of the Michigan State Police were asked to respond to take control of the scene and the investigation. Det./Sgt. Stasiak interviewed Lisa Williams. She advised that, two nights earlier, “Bobby” (Robert) was in a rage while drinking, and that she was angry with him on this night because he was outside drinking with Richard Reid. Robert came into the home and walked to her side of the bed with a handgun. He pointed the gun at her, and she noticed it did not have a “clip” in it. She said she scolded him for pointing a gun at her. He replied, “oh, you think that’s bad” as he walked out of the room. He came back into the room, put a “clip” in the gun and repointed it at her head. She told Det./Sgt. Stasiak that she thought Robert was going to kill her. She advised that Robert came into the room again and wrestled her two handguns from her and said, “oh, you wanna call the cops, I’m going to get my AR and I’ll be ready, I’ll be locked and loaded.” She said he put both of her handguns into the waistband of his pants and left with them. She confirmed that she told dispatch that he had a lot of ammo and guns in the garage. Returning to the moment when Robert put the loaded gun to her head, she said, “to have someone put a gun to your head, I can’t even explain it.”
Det./Sgt. Zimmerman interviewed Richard Reid, the man found in the trailer, about what he had seen and heard with Robert earlier that evening. Much of his information was unknown to the responding officers before shots were fired but corroborated their lethality concerns about Robert. Richard said that earlier that evening, while sitting around the campfire, Robert divulged to him that Lisa was filing for divorce and that her lawyer was going to let her live in their home. Robert drank quite a bit at the campfire. Robert left and went back to the house for about 30 minutes before returning to the camper with an assault rifle with an extended magazine. Robert was only wearing a shirt, no jacket, and wanted Richard to shake his hand. Robert made Richard promise that he would stay in the trailer. Robert told Richard that he (Robert) “was going to die tonight,” that the cops were coming and that he was not going to let them take his place. Richard told Robert to lay down the gun, but Robert left the trailer with the gun after Richard told him that he saw that law enforcement had arrived. Shortly after Robert left the trailer, Richard heard guns going off.
Ambrozaitis concluded that no criminal charges will be filed against the officers. In failing to follow the officers’ lawful commands to put his weapons down, and his hands up, Reid became an immediate danger to Williams and the officers. It was deemed evident the officers honestly and reasonably believed Reid posed a threat and were legally justified in shooting.
As Ambrozaitis pointed out in the statement: The review of this event is not to determine whether the officers involved could have or might have done something differently. The sole question to be answered is whether the shooting of Robert Reid was a criminal act.