Officer-involved deadly shooting in Royal Oak was justified, prosecutor said

Posted at 11:07 AM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 17:15:57-04

The deadly shooting involving a Royal Oak police officer that left a 28-year-old man dead in April has been ruled justified.

According to Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton, the shooting was justified for several reasons, including Michigan's "Self Defense Act" and the law that allows deadly force to be used in making an arrest when the arresting person is met with force.

According to Leyton, Officer Keith Bierenga was on patrol when he observed a black BMW driving recklessly. The driver was later identified as Antonio Gordon. After a short pursuit, Gordon's vehicle came to a stop.

Leyton said Bierenga then approached the driver's side window, and as he was standing there, Gordon took off. He gave chase but eventually lost sight of the vehicle.

About a half hour later, Bierenga found the suspect's vehicle at a drive-thru at the White Castle at 13 Mile and Coolidge. Bierenga blocked the vehicle and approached Gordon with his weapon drawn. 

According to the prosecutor, Gordon put his vehicle in reverse, smashing into the vehicle behind him, and the drove forward almost hitting Officer Bierenga and striking his patrol vehicle. 

Leyton said the officer fired his weapon, striking Gordon, as he was ramming the BMW out of a parking lot. Gordon drove off and crashed about a half mile away and later died. 

The autopsy report said Gordon was shot three times, once in the chest and twice in the arm. It also found he had a blood-alcohol content about three times the legal limit and tested positive for cannabinoids.

"There is no question that this was a very tragic incident for all involved," Leyton said. "What started out as a routine traffic stop quickly escalated into a dangerous felony situation in which Mr. Gordon's own action on the road and at the White Castle parking lot put countless lives at risk including the life of Officer Bierenga."