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Man Killed, 2 Benton Harbor Officers Wounded During Shootout

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A police officer shot and killed a 32-year-old man who opened fire and wounded that officer and another in Benton Harbor, authorities said.

Benton Harbor Public Safety Director Daniel McGinnis told reporters Friday that Dustin Saffell exchanged gunfire with the officers at about 11:20 p.m. Thursday outside a home in the city.

Footage from Sgt. Reginald Gee's body camera shows Gee approaching a vehicle in the driveway and a man armed with a handgun exiting the vehicle from the front passenger side.

Multiple shots are heard and Gee returns fire, striking Saffell, McGinnis said.

The video shows Gee falling to the grass and crawling to safety. More shots are heard.

Gee was struck in the left leg. Another round was stopped by his bulletproof vest. Gee was in stable condition Friday at a hospital after undergoing surgery.

Benton Harbor Officer Blake Kinzler was wounded when he went to assist Gee. He suffered a superficial gunshot wound to his leg. Two other rounds struck his belt. Kinzler was treated at a hospital and released.

Saffell fired at least 15 rounds from the handgun, McGinnis added.

Officers had been searching for Saffell on home invasion, resisting arrest and other warrants.

"He had fled over the last week," McGinnis said. "Fled twice from Michigan State Police. He fled twice from us from Tuesday to Wednesday. We're, at this point, unsure why he decided — after all the times he ran and fled and kind of made a game of it — to shoot it out this time."

McGinnis also said officers were aware of Saffell's previous criminal history, including drugs, assaulting police and weapons possession.

Gee has been a Benton Harbor officer for six years. Kinzler has been with the department for more than three years.

State police were investigating the shooting.

© 2022 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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