Eaton County Sheriff's Office attempted to deliver a felony warrant to a Michigan man but when deputies arrived at his home the suspect fled the scene in his pickup truck.
The warrant stemmed from a November 26 arrest by Michigan Department of Natural Resources officers in Eaton County for driving while under the influence.
An initial statement from State Police indicated there was an exchange of gunfire between Robert Claude Smith, 64, and deputies. A subsequent investigation determined that Smith did not fire a weapon at officers who were pursuing him.
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Michigan State Police Detective First Lt. Thomas DeClercq was attempting to serve a search warrant and felony arrest warrant at Smith's home when he observed Smith leave the residence in a vehicle. DeClercq attempted to stop the vehicle and a chase ensued.
When Smith attempted to flee his home he rammed two sheriff's vehicles and was fatally shot in the head. A body camera video from the officer who killed Smith was released Friday and the video shows Smith driving at a high rate of speed toward the two sheriffs pursuing him.
DeClercq said Smith turned his vehicle around at Boody Highway and drove directly at two sheriffs vehicles pursuing him ramming them both. At the same moment, DeClercq and another deputy fired multiple rounds into the vehicle striking Smith in the head.
Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich issued a statement saying, "From preliminary information, there was a clear threat to the lives of my deputies while they were attempting to arrest a felony suspect, and they responded to stop that threat."
"I support my deputies and their response in protection of their lives."
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