Crime Suspect captured in shooting that injured Battle Creek police officer early Saturday
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Sheriff John Williams asked why the music was so loud, then he was shot in the head, a witness said.About 8:15 p.m. Saturday, Williams was shot at the QV convenience store near the Lowndes County Courthouse on the downtown square in Hayneville. Law enforcement apprehended the suspect William Chase Johnson, 18, after a nearly four-hour search when he walked up to the shooting scene about 12:05 a.m. Sunday with a firearm in his hand and was taken into custody after the manhunt.
A day-long search for a suspect in a Saturday morning shooting of a police officer ended just before 4:30 p.m. with his capture.
Andre Yarbrough, 30, was arrested at the River Apartments, located at 45 Stringham Road, after police went there acting on a tip.
Lt. Doug Bagwell said Yarbrough was taken into custody after the apartment was entered by members of the Battle Creek Police Department's Emergency Response Team and a police dog, which bit him.
He was taken to the Calhoun County jail in handcuffs belonging to the officer he is accused of shooting.
Officers from several departments had been searching for Yarbrough since the shooting about 2:30 a.m. on Cherry Street, which wounded Officer Jeff Johnson.
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Johnson, 35, was shot in the leg, chest and wrist while officers looked for Yarbrough, wanted on nine warrants, Chief Jim Blocker said. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Blocker said Johnson and several other officers went to 310 Cherry St. at 1:16 a.m. Saturday to investigate a report of children screaming.
When the officers arrived, the homeowner said there was not a problem and would not allow the officers inside.
However, police said they saw Andre Durrell Yarbrough of Battle Creek inside the house and knew he was wanted. His vehicle was also parked in front of the house.
Blocker said Johnson and the others stayed in the area in hopes that Yarbrough would come out.
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At 2:30 a.m. Johnson, who was on foot, radioed that he was chasing Yarbrough and, moments later, other officers heard several shots.
They found Johnson on the ground behind a garage at the back of the house and began giving him first aid and applied a tourniquet to an injury to his left leg.
Johnson was taken by police car to Bronson Battle Creek, and then by ambulance to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, where he underwent surgery on his leg.
Blocker said doctors told him Johnson's femur was broken, and he also was shot in the upper chest but was protected by a body armor vest.
Blocker said it appears that Johnson was first shot in the leg and dropped to the ground, and was then shot in the chest and wrist.
"We believe the round to the upper areas were fired while the suspect was over or near the downed officer," Blocker said. "Undoubtedly, the vest and the tourniquet saved the officer's life."
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Nearby officers found Johnson, provided the aid and had him at the hospital within four minutes.
Blocker said it appears that Johnson and Yarbrough fought before the shots were fired, but investigators are still trying to determine the exact sequence of events.
The Michigan State Police will be conducting the investigation of the shooting.
Police expand search for suspect
Investigators said Yarbrough ran east of the house, and police located a 9 mm handgun in a field near the house – they believe that is the gun used to shoot Johnson.
Blocker said Johnson also fired shots and that Yarborough could be injured. Police did not know if he had any other weapons.
Immediately after the shooting, police from several agencies began searching for Yarbrough using a Battle Creek Police Department drone and a Michigan State Police helicopter.
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The drone was in the air at 3:10 a.m. and the helicopter came to the area and began their search at 5:11 a.m.
Police began to search throughout the city as they received tips and other information about the possible location of Yarbrough.
Police used tracking dogs and members of the Emergency Response Team were assembled as part of the search.
No one else has been arrested and Blocker said only Yarbrough is a suspect in the shooting.
Officers from Battle Creek, the Calhoun County Sheriff Department, the state police, Marshall Police, Emmett Township Department of Public Safety, Tribal Police, and the Department of Natural Resources assisted in the search.
"Not a log will be unrolled or a stone unturned until we find him," Blocker said.
But the chief asked for help from the community in the search.
How the community can help
"Members of the community, if you know something and if you have heard something we ask that you call us and let us know."
He said police used community information to arrest three people on Wednesday in connection with the shooting death last weekend of Michael Corbin.
"We got the suspects because of the community cooperation and I would only ask that at this time we have the same level of cooperation."
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The initial search was concentrated in the area of Cherry, Elm, Union and VanBuren streets and along the Battle Creek River, which members of the sheriff department searched by boat.
The search widened through the morning to include the entire city.
Yarbrough has a history of assault and court records also show arrests for being a felon in possession of a weapon, resisting police, carrying a concealed weapon and domestic violence.
"He was carrying a firearm and was willing to use it in the manner he was suggests he was assaultive," Blocker said. "He has proven it tonight."
Blocker said no one else at the house was injured and no other shots were fired other than by Johnson and the suspect.
Anyone with additional information is asked to call police at 269-781-0911 or Silent Observer at 269-964-3888.
More about the officer shot
Officer Jeff Johnson, 33, is a former officer with the Springfield Department of Public Safety, who joined the Battle Creek Police Department in December 2013 after Springfield closed their department. He is a negotiator and member of the department's Honor Guard.
"He is good at what he does," Chief Jim Blocker said, "and I think that is apparent today by his work effort in this particular case."
Johnson is the first Battle Creek officer shot since former Officer Rob Miller was wounded during a shooting on Frisbie Avenue in March 2006, involving a suspect in a Detroit homicide, police said. The year before Detective LaVern Brann was shot and killed by a suspect while Brann and his partner, Detective Greg Huggett were investigating a homicide.
Contact Trace Christenson at 269-966-0685 or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter @TSChristenson.
This article originally appeared on Battle Creek Enquirer:
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