A suspect in a series of Berrien County home invasions died Monday night after being shot by a police officer, according to the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office.
The suspect, whose name was not released, was shot “multiple times” after he tried to evade police, then reportedly pulled a knife on an undercover officer who followed him from a hotel in Niles to a home on Wedgewood Drive just across the state line in St. Joseph County.
An autopsy could be scheduled as early as Tuesday.
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A Berrien County police officer involved in the shooting suffered a knife cut on the hand during a struggle with the suspect.
The officer’s injury was not serious, said county Metro Homicide Commander Tim Corbett.
A felony warrant had been issued in Berrien County for the suspect in connection with several home invasions in Michigan.
“He was considered armed and dangerous,” Corbett said.
The incident began at about 3:30 p.m. when Berrien County police attempted to execute a search warrant at a hotel on 31 North and spotted the suspect near his car.
“They recognized his vehicle,” Corbett said.
Recognizing police had spotted him, the suspect got in his car and drove south on 31, crossing the state line before pulling into the parking lot of the Pay N Pakit store on the corner of 31 and Wedgewood.
He then got out of the car and walked east on Wedgewood.
Berrien County officers, meanwhile, had radioed ahead for backup from St. Joseph County police.
“Cops were coming from everywhere,” said Wedgewood Drive resident Audrie Nolan. “They were driving on 933, Auten Road ... it was very scary.”
The suspect “tried to get into a home” at 19450 Wedgewood Drive, Corbett said.
Police were not sure why the suspect picked that particular house, where the undercover officer pulled his silver unmarked vehicle into the driveway and stopped the suspect short of the front door.
When the suspect pulled a knife, the officer fired “multiple shots,” Corbett said.
Nolan said her husband counted “five shots.”
Despite being shot, “at least once in the hand,” according to Corbett, the suspect didn’t give up easily.
“He continued to fight with the officers after he was shot,” Corbett said.
Nolan said she saw the suspect lying on the ground in the front yard of the home surrounded by police until an ambulance picked him up and took him to Memorial Hospital.
Police closed down Wedgewood for nearly three hours, and investigators were issued a search warrant to search the suspect’s vehicle.
Residents who arrived to a closed-off street were escorted to their homes by police.