GREENVILLE — A Greenville man was arrested and charged with multiple crimes after what police described as a “random gunfire” incident in which at least six vehicles were struck by gunfire.
Jonathan Rasmussen, 30, was arraigned Thursday in Montcalm County District Court. He is charged with weapons firearms discharging at or in a building (a possible 10-year felony), felony firearm and four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon. He is being held on a $250,000 cash/surety bond.
Greenville Department of Public Safety Interim Director Brian Blomstrom told the Daily News that at approximately 4:50 p.m. Wednesday, officers responded to a report of “loud bangs” in the area of N. Hillcrest and W. Blackburn streets.
“While en route, we were informed two vehicles possibly were shot,” he said. “We did find that at least two vehicles had been struck by random gunfire. In talking to the drivers, they indicated they were on Blackburn Street when that occurred.”
On Thursday, Blomstrom said the department’s investigation revealed that no less than six vehicles and “two or three” neighboring structures had been struck by gunfire in total.
Blomstrom said none of the shots struck any drivers or pedestrians, although one person received “a slight injury” from some shattered glass.
Blomstrom said the situation escalated as officers were canvassing the area, leading to officers surrounding the residence at 1202 W. Blackburn St.
“It was treated as a suspicious situation, but once we realized shots had been fired, we began a neighborhood canvas, not knowing exactly where in this area the shots were coming from,” he said. “As we continued to investigate, checking the area for shell casings, we heard the sound of gunfire coming from a residence on Blackburn Street. That allowed us to focus on a specific area and identify the house. We ended up surrounding the house and determined who was in the home, calling out to the individual to come out of the house. It looked to be a person who lives in the residence. He realized we were outside, broke out a window and crawled out to us. He was taken into custody without incident at that time.”
Blomstrom said officers entered the home and found a second individual inside who was transported to Corewell Health Greenville Hospital for an injury unrelated to the shooting.
“We made entry to the house, secured the home, and found another residence of the house in the basement,” he said. “She was transported to the hospital for medical concerns, outside of the incident we are investigating.”
Blomstrom said the incident remains under investigation as the department continues to receive reports of potential additional vehicles and structures that may have been hit.
“The investigation is being reviewed by the prosecutor’s office while we continue to gather more evidence and victim information,” he said. “After daylight occurred and people heard about the story, many checked their property to see if they had any damage.
Blomstrom said he could not disclose at this time the type of weapon used in the incident.
“That is still being processed by the evidence techs,” he said.
Blomstrom said officers discovered evidence of multiple firearms in the house.
“At present time, speaking to those who entered the house to clear it, there are weapons inside the house. There were guns and ammunition, items like that, around the house,” he said. “It is quite possible the weapons discovered inside the house were those used that struck the vehicles passing by. At this time it’s being investigated as to how the bullets came to exit the house, into the vehicles.
“The suspect is in our custody and there’s no danger to the public,” he added. “No one was struck by a bullet, not that we know of at this time. We are still canvassing the area to see if any other structures were struck as well.”
On Thursday, Blomstrom said the assessment of the incident being a “random gunfire” event still held true.
“There was no specific individual or individuals targeted in this incident,” he said. “The suspect was discharging the firearm in his home and he was being reckless with his firearm to the point bullets exited the building. However, nothing through his interview with GDPS Det. Chad Aniszko has led us to believe he had a certain person, place or thing in mind to shoot at during the incident. The entire thing was one random ordeal of him using a firearm inappropriately.”
Blomstrom applauded the officers from his department, the MSP and the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Officer for successfully bringing the situation to a resolution without incident or major injury.
“The suspect came out responding to our loud, verbal commands. He walked up to the officers as he was supposed to and was taken into custody at that point,” Blomstrom said. “The house was then cleared. Once the evidence techs get together, it will be a large scene to process. Having evidence techs from multiple agencies will help greatly with that.
“We are very lucky to have good mutual aid responding to assist, once we knew what was occurring,” he continued. “We had good training as well. We’ve practiced these types of scenarios in the past. In working together, both as a department and with mutual aid, the resolution was positive in the very end. When we go through training and discuss these types of scenarios, it helps things flow smoothly — as well as they can — on dynamic scenes like these, where everyone is working together to ensure the outcome is successful and hopefully nobody gets hurt. In this case, nobody was hurt.”
Blomstrom said while the location of the incident occurred adjacent to Greenville High School (south of W. Blackburn Street) and about 500 feet from Greenville Middle School (located at the end of W. Blackburn Street), with students having had a half-day of school Wednesday and released before noon, the incident was not connected to the schools in any way.
“This was a random incident in a neighborhood that happens to adjoin the school property,” he said. “Our officers and the mutual aid from the Sheriff’s Office and MSP did a phenomenal job to alleviate the situation. I can’t say anything better than that. Everything came together. Montcalm County Central Dispatch had extra resources coming in from all over. It’s a good resolution in the end and you can never guarantee that when you respond to these types of situations.”
Montcalm County EMS also assisted at the scene.