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Update: MSP Continues Investigation into Officer-Involved Fatal Incident in Kentwood; Attorney General's Office Begins Review of Incident

On Wed., April 17, a member of the Michigan State Police (MSP) Sixth District Fugitive Team was involved in an incident that resulted in the death of Samuel Sterling while attempting to take him into custody on outstanding warrants. 

Within hours of the incident, the MSP had launched a full investigation and the MSP officer who was driving the vehicle that struck Mr. Sterling was suspended in accordance with the MSPTA collective bargaining agreement. The investigation is being conducted by the Fifth District Investigative Response Team (IRT). An IRT is a group of specially trained detectives who are assigned from a different district to investigate critical incidents, including MSP officer-involved critical incidents.

While detectives continue to investigate, evidence gathered is being shared with the Michigan Department of Attorney General Dana Nessel, who, in accordance with MSP policy, will ultimately review the investigation to make a determination on whether any criminal charges will result.

"When I spoke with Mr. Sterling’s family last week, I assured them the Michigan State Police is committed to the pursuit of justice and will conduct an impartial and thorough investigation,” said Col. James F. Grady II, director of the MSP. “I would like to thank the Office of Attorney General for coming alongside us in this investigation and for their commitment to conducting a timely review of the evidence in the case.”

“My public integrity unit has investigated dozens of police-involved incidents and is dedicated to providing a thorough and just review and resolution in each one,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “Public integrity is a top priority for my department, which is why we have grown the unit, allowing us to take on all criminal reviews of events involving an on-duty Michigan State Police trooper.”

MSP’s investigation shows that the MSP Sixth District Fugitive Team was working a fugitive arrest operation with other police agencies in Kentwood on April 17, in an attempt to locate and arrest Mr. Sterling, who was wanted on multiple warrants. 

At approximately 11:20 a.m., officers observed him at a gas station at 52nd Street and Eastern Avenue, putting air in a vehicle’s tires. Upon approaching him, he fled on foot. Several officers pursued him on foot and an MSP member was driving an unmarked vehicle. They ended up converging in the parking lot of Burger King on Eastern Avenue, where the vehicle driven by the MSP member struck Mr. Sterling. 

Emergency medical support was summoned to the scene and transported Mr. Sterling to the hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries and passed away.  

For additional information, see our previous statement