Man shoots himself on U.S. 31 exit ramp

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:42 AM

The man, identified as Doug Norton, pulled over for police after being spotted in Grand Haven, but picked up a gun and shot himself when police approached, Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke said.

Police said they had been looking for the man since Monday evening after Norton reportedly stole a pickup truck and some guns. He was accompanied by a runaway 15-year-old Spring Lake Township girl, said Lt. Mark Bennett of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

The girl was reported missing when her mother got home from work and contacted police around 6:30 p.m. Monday. Bennett said the girl had left the home — in the 16000 block of 144th Avenue — with the suspect sometime between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday.

Police would not confirm if Norton was the girl’s boyfriend.

Investigators said the suspect also took a handgun, rifle and assorted jewelry from the home.

Area police agencies were alerted Monday night that the missing girl was likely to be with the man in the stolen pickup truck. Bennett said police were working with the families of both the suspect and the girl to try to locate them.

Shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday, Grand Haven public safety officers spotted the stolen Ford pickup truck on Beacon Boulevard and attempted to stop it, Bennett said. However, the truck continued north on U.S. 31.

Police activated their overhead lights at the county line, and they said the truck did not attempt to evade them. The driver pulled onto the exit ramp at Pontaluna Road.

“There was not a pursuit,” Hawke said.

The truck stopped about three-quarters of the way up the ramp, Hawke said.

“Officers then did a high-risk traffic stop,” Hawke replied when asked if the officers drew their guns.

“Without incident, the male took one of the firearms and shot himself at the scene,” Bennett said.

Bennett said police did not fire their weapons.

The girl was not injured. Officers interviewed her and then released her to her parents, Bennett said.

Employees at the nearby Craig's Cruisers escorted customers from the miniature golf course back inside the facility during the incident. The amusement business remained on lockdown for about 15 minutes, said Gordon Osborn, a partner in the business.

Osborn said there were about 10 customers at the time, along with four or five employees.

Bennett said an autopsy would likely be performed on Norton sometime today. As of late Tuesday, police were still checking to see whether or not the man had a criminal background.

The incident remains under investigation, Hawke said.

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