"Having to take a life in the line of duty is the last thing that any police officer wants to do," Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski said. "They have to live with that the rest of their lives."
He says he's proud of the way his officers acted last Christmas Eve. Three officers shot at Terrazza Griffin, a 24-year-old who, the investigation found, who lit his house on fire, said he had a hostage, and shot at police.
"Our officers showed a tremendous amount of professionalism," Yankowski said. "They tried to talk it out with him for two hours. Even when he was out on that porch, they were pleading with him to drop the gun, just drop the gun, go peacefully, and he chose to raise that firearm and shoot in the direction of the officers."
Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert reviewed the information gathered by a Michigan State Police investigation. "He has now ruled that the shooting was justified by the three officers, and that they followed all laws and that they used proper use of force, considering the circumstances," Yankowski said. The three officers who shot at Griffin were put on administrative duty, or desk work, during the investigation. They have now been returned to full duty.
"This is the job of an American police officer," Yankowski said. "They have a duty to keep their communities safe and sometimes use of force is needed and, unfortunately, sometimes fatalities occur." He says every incident is different and sometimes police work is complicated, but he's confident MSP and the Calhoun County prosecutor did a fair and thorough investigation.