No charges for MSP trooper involved in fatal shooting near Marion

MARION — A Michigan State Police trooper who fatally shot a Hersey man in July will not face criminal charges.

On July 15, a trooper assigned to the Michigan State Police Mount Pleasant Post was dispatched to a report of a suspicious situation near the intersection of M-115 and 20 Mile Road near Marion in Osceola County. The incident escalated to an officer-involved shooting, resulting in the death of 43-year-old Eugene Kailing.

On Tuesday, Osceola County Prosecutor Tyler Thompson found the trooper was justified in the use of deadly force after having reviewed all evidence, witness statements, lab and autopsy results. As a result, Thompson will not authorize charges against the trooper.

Police were first called to the incident when a caller reported a car was on its side, up against a house on the southeast corner of the intersection. The caller also said there was a male subject frantically running around.

It was initially reported that after making contact with Kailing, he charged at the trooper with a metal pipe. First Lt. Lawrence Schloegl, MSP Mount Pleasant post commander, confirmed that detail and elaborated.

“I do know from the initial investigation that Mr. Kailing came at the trooper with a metal pipe, which was actually a fence post over six-foot long,” Schloegl said. “At that point the trooper discharged his taser, which had no effect on Mr. Kailing.”

Kailing continued toward the trooper with the fence post and the trooper then fired his service weapon, striking the subject. The trooper was uninjured.

According to the six-page opinion from Thompson, Kailing was shot three times. Medical aid was immediately given, but Kailing died as a result of his gunshot wounds.

The report from Thompson also describes Kailing threatening the trooper, stating the "...Taser doesn't work on me. I am going to kill you." After dropping the spent Taser cartridge and backing away from Kailing, the trooper drew his pistol and pointed it at Kailing. Kailing was ordered multiple times to drop the pipe which he was still holding over his head.

The report states Kailing became increasingly hostile and repeatedly told the trooper he was not going back to jail and the trooper would have to kill him. When Kailing aggressively moved toward the trooper with the pipe, the trooper discharged his weapon.

There were witnesses to the entire incident, Schloegl said, including a woman and her daughter who were in a vehicle stopped at the intersection. According to information from Thompson's report, the woman said the trooper "was definitely being threatened and was defending himself."

A firefighter and trained medical first responder who was driving by the scene stopped to offer medical assistance with the trooper until EMS arrived a short time later.

Investigation and interviews with people familiar with Kailing showed Kailing had mental issues, including a diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Although he'd been given medication upon his discharge from jail, it is not clear whether he was taking them.

Based on all the facts and the law, the trooper was in immediate danger of death or great bodily harm, and as such the trooper acted properly in self defense, Thompson said in conclusion.

“The prosecutor’s office did a very thorough investigation and explanation as to how they came to the decision not to pursue charges against the trooper,” Schloegl said.