Prosecutor: 4 officers justified in killing parole absconder

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo County prosecutor has ruled that four police officers were justified in shooting a parole absconder 13 times last year, killing him.

Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting released his decision in the death of Thomas Verile Jr. during a Friday afternoon press conference. He said Deputy U.S. Marshal Tony Casper, then-Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Kevin Conklin (now the Van Buren County undersheriff), Michigan Department of Corrections Investigator Thomas Johnson and Battle Creek Police Department Officer Andrew Horn had reason to believe that Verile was a threat to their lives.

In the spring of 2019, Verile was wanted for violating parole following breaking and entering and weapons convictions, and also had outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court. Getting said Friday he was also wanted for questioning as a suspect in thefts of tools, cars and guns.

The MSP Fugitive Team ultimately found Verile on April 4 at the Kalamazoo home where he had been staying, where he was hiding on a shelf under clothes in a small basement utility room. Getting said that when the officers found him, he refused to obey commands to show his hands and shouted that he had a gun and he would kill them and himself.

The officers stated that Verile made a sudden move forward, his hands still covered. All four of them opened fire.

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