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Man who appeared to set up ambush for police pleads no contest

Becky Vargo • Sep 5, 2018 at 7:00 AM

A Grand Rapids-area man charged in connection with an incident that appeared he was planning to ambush police along I-96 earlier this summer pleaded no contest to the charges in Ottawa County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Joshua Michael Gryzen, 24, of Wyoming faces up to two years in prison for resisting and obstructing police, and for possession of clonazepam — a prescription-strength sedative — when he is sentenced Oct. 1. He also faces up to one year in jail for possession of marijuana, and up to 93 days in jail for misdemeanor charges of drunken driving and possessing firearms while under the influence.

Gryzen’s attorneys, John Moritz and Abraham Gonzalez, said that the no-contest plea was entered “due to intoxication causing lack of memory.” A plea of no contest is treated the same as a guilty plea at sentencing.

Laboratory results for a blood test showed that Gryzen’s blood alcohol level was 0.159 on the night he was arrested. A person is considered legally drunk at 0.08.

As she looked over the police report, Judge Karen Miedema said that Gryzen admitted drinking more and more as the night progressed. He also smoked marijuana and took anxiety medication.

The incident

Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a single-car crash at about 2:13 a.m. July 13 on westbound I-96 in Polkton Township, near Coopersville, according to the Probable Cause Determination, a hearing used before a judge will authorize a warrant for a felony arrest.

The driver had fled on foot, police said. Deputies tracked the driver and observed him in the grass on the back side of a fence.

“He was laying on his back with an AR-15 rifle by his left hand,” the court document says. “It appeared that Josh had set up a spot of advantage for a possible ambush.”

According to the warrant document, Gryzen did not respond to verbal instructions given by deputies who had their pistols pointed at him.

Additional deputies arrived and they attempted to take the man into custody. It was at that point that he woke up, attempted to fight with the deputies and reached for his waistband, the document says. The deputies wrestled with Gryzen before getting him into handcuffs.

Police smelled a strong odor of intoxicants coming from Gryzen, so they took him to a hospital for a blood draw after obtaining a search warrant, the document says.

Deputies searching the scene found a Sig Sauer AR-15-style rifle with a 20-round magazine. The magazine was inserted and one round chambered in the rifle. There were additional 30- and 40-round magazines near the man, the court document says.

Deputies also found a container of marijuana and a bong along the trail. 

In the suspect’s vehicle, there was more marijuana, a grinder, some pills and an ammunition box containing 570 .223 rifle rounds, as well as a tactical ballistic vest. 

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