A 27-year-old man was helped from Lake Michigan early Thursday afternoon after treading water for more than an hour, avoiding police requests to give himself up.
Grand Haven State Park was closed during the incident.
The man, a suspect in a fatal shooting in Muskegon County earlier in the day, apparently jumped into the water from the rocks at the base of Grand Haven’s south pier shortly after 11 a.m.
Detectives from the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety retrieved shoes, pants and a shirt from the rocks in the area and placed them in evidence bags, but Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke said he could not confirm that clothing belonged to the man in the water.
Police responded to the state park on a report of a suicidal man. When officers made contact with him, the man fled and ran into the lake, according to Capt. Shane Brown of the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office.
GHDPS officers, along with Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office deputies and state conservation officers from the park responded to the beach and scanned the water with binoculars while other officers armed with rifles went out on the south pier.
Hawke said it was reported that the man was possibly armed, but they believed that was no longer the case.
Two Ottawa County Sheriff's Office marine patrol boats and a boat from Coast Guard Station Grand Haven also responded to the scene and trailed the man in the water.
Hawke said officers did not go in the water with the man because he indicated that he was armed.
When the man finally boarded one of the sheriff's department boats, at around 12:30 p.m., he was cold and hypothermic, said Capt. Clint Holt of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety.
“The sheriff’s department just waited until he was cold and worn out enough to come out,” Holt said. The water temperature was 54.
Holt said the man was wearing either swimming trunks or briefs.
A Sheriff's Office marine patrol boat took the man to Coast Guard Station Grand Haven, where paramedics checked him over before taking him to North Ottawa Community Hospital to be further checked. The ambulance had a police escort.
The incident started earlier Thursday morning when Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a suicidal subject on Meeuwenberg Road in Twin Lake, Brown said. While deputies were responding, Muskegon County Central Dispatch reported the suspected suicidal subject may have shot someone and was on his way to Grand Haven with a female companion.
Deputies arriving at the Twin Lake address found a man who had died of apparent gunshot wounds. WZZM-TV reported that the man's wife identified the victim as her husband, Evan Yonker.
The Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the incident. Assisting agencies were the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, Dalton Township Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard and Michigan Department of Natural Resources officers.