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Officials: Holland police officer fired shot in fatal incident

Becky Vargo • Apr 24, 2018 at 6:49 PM

Police said Tuesday that a West Olive man killed Sunday in an officer-involved shooting died as the result of a single gunshot wound.

An autopsy was performed Monday on 27-year-old Matthew James Hartman, according to Capt. Mark Bennett of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

Hartman was killed after refusing to drop a gun he was holding to the head of his wife, Mary Hartman.

Bennett said a Holland police officer fired the shot. That officer is now on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by the Michigan State Police, according to a press release from Holland Department of Public Safety. This is normal protocol for all officer-involved shootings.

Holland police officers were called to assist Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies Sunday at a home on Brickersville Street in the West Olive Estates mobile home park. This was due to the critical nature of the incident and how quickly it was unfolding, according to the press release.

“As the incident unfolded, the male suspect exited the residence with a gun to the female’s head,” the press release said. “A Holland officer fired at the suspect, the suspect went down, and the hostage was rescued and taken to safety by sheriff deputies.”

The incident began at about 7:30 a.m. when Ottawa County Central Dispatch received a call from a woman saying that her daughter was in danger by her husband.

Police said the daughter may have been transported to Muskegon, where her husband may have been involved in the fatal shooting of a Muskegon man. A Muskegon woman was also injured in the shooting.

Police said Mary Hartman was in the car when her husband drove to Muskegon and shot her friend, 29-year-old Jordan Carey, and 25-year-old Mariah Cantu. Carey died from his injuries. Cantu was treated and released from a local hospital.

"After seeing one of her best friends killed and then standing beside her husband of five years was killed in the way that he was, it's not good," said Robert German, Mary Hartman's attorney. "What she had experienced all along and had complained about was that he had an ungovernable temper."

Muskegon police said Matthew Hartman was the suspect in the Muskegon shooting.

After that shooting, the Hartmans returned to their West Olive home. That’s when Central Dispatch received texts from Hartman’s wife saying that she was being held against her will at gunpoint and needed help.

Shortly after police arrived at the Brickersville Street home, they said they saw the suspect outside his house holding a weapon. The man went inside and then came back out, holding a gun to his wife’s head.

Officers gave several commands to the man to drop the weapon. When he did not comply, an officer shot him.

The wife was not injured and was cooperating with police, Bennett said. 

The homicide investigation in Muskegon is being conducted by the Michigan State Police. The domestic hostage incident is under investigation by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. The state police Special Investigations Unit was called to investigate the officer-involved shooting.

Authorities said no further information will be released on the officer-involved shooting until the investigation has been completed and a report submitted to the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office for review of the incident.

“As an agency, we will continue to provide support to our officers who were involved in this incident,” the press release from the Holland Department of Public Safety said. “We also wish to extend our thoughts and prayers to the multiple individuals, families and communities who were impacted by these tragic events.”

Matthew Hartman was born in Grand Haven on Dec. 10, 1990, to Robert and Gail Hartman, according to an obituary supplied by Clock Funeral Home. He married the former Mary Grubb on April 11, 2012.

Hartman had been employed in preventative maintenance for Request Foods. He loved bowling and was on his high school team, and later bowled in an area league.

“He enjoyed fishing, loved his son and believed in the importance of family,” according to the obituary.

Hartman is also survived by the couple’s son, Brayden Hartman; a brother, Todd (Stacey) Aldred; and his father, Robert Hartman.

A man who said he was a neighbor of the Hartmans on Pennoyer Avenue in Grand Haven said the Hartmans lived there for 10-15 years and were “not bad neighbors.” The neighbor, who asked not to be named, said Robert Hartman moved away after his wife died.

WZZM-TV contributed to this story.

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