State Police working with Benton Harbor officers may have saved the city from a major incident last night, while potential solving a number of shootings in recent weeks.
Responding to reports of a disturbance at the River Terrace Apartments on 8th Street in Benton Harbor last night, Michigan State Police Troopers assigned to expanded resource duty in the city ended up arresting five people and confiscated multiple firearms, extended magazines, ammunition and body armor.
Last evening, Thursday, September 3rd, at approximately 9:30 pm troopers working the SCP detail in Benton Harbor were responding to the River Terrace Apartments incident south of Britain Avenue to assist the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety.
Prior to their arrival, a vehicle fled the scene and a description of the vehicle was provided to Berrien County dispatchers by Benton Harbor officers. Dispatchers subsequently broadcast that information to area officers. Having knowledge of the vehicle’s description, troopers located it on Colfax Avenue and initiated a traffic stop for not having electronic verified insurance.
Upon approaching the driver, police spotted a pistol sitting in plain view on the driver’s lap. As the driver complied with a request to exit the vehicle, several other guns were seen in plain view inside the vehicle. Upon questioning the driver about the guns, he advised that he holds a Concealed Carry Pistol License (CPL) and admitted all the guns belonged to him.
A subsequent search of the vehicle resulted in the following seizure:
- 8 pistols,
- 4 long guns (AR & AK style rifles, and 12-gauge shotgun)
- Extended magazines
- 100’s of rounds of ammunition
- 2 body armors (1 passenger wearing one and one in the trunk)
The driver did have a valid CPL, however only one gun was registered to him and he was carrying loaded rifles in the vehicle. He was arrested and lodged for having a loaded long gun and possession of body armor while in commission of a felony. His four passengers were arrested and lodged for a range of charges from CCW, to felon in possession of a firearm.
According to the Michigan State Police Major Crimes Unit (MCU) embedded within the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety, there was some intelligence that there was going to be a shooting last evening. The suspects arrested in the traffic stop are believed to be responsible for the last 10 or more retaliation shootings, and the seized weapons appear to match the ballistics evidence recovered from an open homicide investigation and other reported shootings. The weapons will be sent to the lab to confirm their connection with those investigations.
State Police say, “It is without a doubt that the BHPDS, along with MSP SCP troopers, worked together to prevent a likely shooting and potentially saved the lives of would be victims by their quick actions and ultimately making timely arrests and taking dangerous weapons off the streets.”
They report that since July 21, 2020, it is believed but not confirmed that this group is responsible for shooting up five houses and hitting/injuring 6 people. From the last reported shooting in the city, 42 fired shell casings were recovered where two people were hit.
Names of the arrested individuals are being withheld pending arraignments, and the investigation remains open and ongoing.
At the request of Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety, the Michigan State Police has expanded its resources in Benton Harbor. Six troopers and one sergeant have been assigned through September 18th, in addition to troopers currently assigned to the Secure Cities Partnership (SCP).
Benton Harbor is part of Michigan’s SCP, which is an initiative developed by the MSP to address crime through a comprehensive system of ‘smart justice’ that recognizes the connection between enforcement and community engagement.