From Grand Rapids’ WXMI.com of May 12, 2006
Suspect Shot During Alleged Home RobberyFrom the WOODtv.com of May 16, 2006
Police say two suspects got an unexpected surprise when they apparently tried to rob a home in northern Kent County in broad daylight. An armed house-sitter was waiting inside.
It's the type of quiet, rural street in Oakfield Township where neighbors know each other and look out for each other.
"It looked like no one was there, but my brother was there to surprise him," said Sandy Smejkl.
Her brother, 34-year-old Mark Diamond is the person police say fired the shots. Police say he was house-sitting for a friend, watching T.V. Friday afternoon, when two men pulled up behind the house in a mini-van and tried to break in.
Diamond told police he grabbed the homeowner's handgun and shot one of the alleged suspects before they took off.
"Two guys came running out of the driveway and ran into her's, I went to the door and the guy said my buddy's been shot, I called 9-1-1," said a neighbor across the street.
Neighbors say, the house-sitter then ran outside after the two suspects, with the gun still in hand. "He was saying, we told you yesterday to stay the hell out of here," said one witness.
Neighbors told Fox 17 News at Ten, they've seen the two suspicious teenagers, and the van towed away as evidence in the neighborhood over the past week. Neighbors have been on alert, watching each other's homes.
"We saw them walking down the road and they were walking down the road, pulled into a two-track down there and got stuck," said neighbor Tom Johnson.
Police said they don't believe the two suspects were armed, but have no reason to believe the house-sitter did anything wrong at this point.
"It appears that way, we have no indication that this house was targeted for any other reason," said Lt. Roger Parent, with the Kent County Sheriff Department.
But the final decision, will be up to the Prosecutor to decide. "He's never shot anyone, he's just not that type of person and I hope he doesn't get in trouble for it," said Smejkl.
Police aren't releasing the names of the two suspects, but we do know the shooting victim is 18-years-old and is currently in critical but stable condition at Spectrum Butterworth. The other alleged suspect is 17-years-old and is in custody.
Neighbor shoots at alleged home prowlersFrom Grand Rapids’ WOODtv.com of June 2, 2006
For days, residents along a stretch of 15 Mile Road, just east of Harvard in Kent County's Oakfield Township, saw a suspicious van going up and down the road.
"They've been here a couple three days. They've been told to leave the area," says resident Charlie Sieboar.
Neighbors tend to keep an eye out for one another's home in this area. That's why Mark Diamond volunteered to watch his neighbor's house.
"He knew there might be trouble," says his sister, Sandy Smejkal.
That trouble found Diamond around noon on Friday, when two men in the suspicious van approached the house that he was watching.
Charlie Sieboar was at the house across the street when he heard two gunshots fired, and then saw two men running toward him.
"I'm yelling, 'Get the hell out of here, someone else will be shooting at ya.' He said, 'My buddy's been shot,'" Sieboar told 24 Hour News 8.
Late this afternoon, the sheriff's department says the man shot, identified as an 18-year-old from southwest Grand Rapids, remains in critical condition at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital.
The other suspect, a 17-year-old man from Grand Rapids, was not injured. He was arrested at the scene.
It appears neither man in the van was armed.
Sheriff's deputies say it is still unclear exactly what was going on.
What they do know is that a suspicious van, in an area where it didn't belong, pulled up to the back of a house.
While the investigation continues, deputies say it appears Diamond was a citizen protecting private property.
"This would be a little different because it's a neighbor watching the property of. But again, there's a felony in progress," says Lieutenant Roger Parent of the Kent County Sheriff's Department.
But the final call will be up to the prosecutor.
Sandy Smejkal says her brother was only doing what needed to be done.
"I don't think he should be in trouble. He was doing what anyone else would have done."
Neighbor shot prowler in self-defense
A man who shot a suspected prowler at his neighbor's home acted in self-defense, said Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth.
In a statement released today, Forsyth said an investigation concluded the man protecting his neighbor's house reasonably assumed he was in danger from two men who were trying to get into the house.
In the statement, Forsyth said the two men charged with home invasion, Fernando Olivas, 18, and a 17-year-old Grand Rapids man, had gone to the home at 10739 Fifteen Mile Road in Oakfield Township twice before looking for "Tom." Both times the men were told no one named Tom lived there.
On May 12, the shooter saw a "van pull into the driveway and go around to the back side" of the house. The shooter appeared, clearly armed, and was told once again they were looking for "Tom." The shooter told them to leave the property, at which point, according to the statement, "Olivas reach(ed) into his pocket and (the shooter) believed he was reaching for a weapon."
At that point, the shooter fired, hitting Olivas. A later investigation revealed Olivas was armed with a loaded handgun.
No charges will be filed against the shooter. The case against Olivas and his co-defendant is currently pending in Kent County Circuit Court.