An attempt to serve a search warrant and make an arrest in Brookfield Township on Tuesday afternoon ends with an Eaton County sheriff’s deputy killing the suspect soon after a short vehicle pursuit.
64-year old Robert Claude Smith died from a single gunshot wound to the head. According to Michigan State Police Detective First Lt. Thomas Declercq, gunfire erupted after Smith turned his car around and drove directly at the two vehicles deputies were pursuing him with, hitting them both on Wilcox Road.
Initial reports had an exchange of gunfire, but Declercq said on Wednesday, no shots were fired from Smith, only from deputies.
The warrants for Smith’s arrest and a search of the property were for felon in possession of a firearm. Eaton County officials believed Smith had a firearm after a November 26 arrest by officers with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for driving while under the influence.
Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. One deputy sustained minor injuries in the crash and was transported to a hospital and later released.
Both of the Eaton County deputies involved have been placed on standard administration leave.
This is the third fatal shooting by Eaton County officers since 2015.