A Michigan State Police probe has concluded the shooting was justified because Reddie had a pocketknife and lunged at police.
Workers from the Department of Human Services along with the sheriff’s deputy and an officer from the Grayling City Police went to Reddie’s apartment with a court order to remove the minor child because Reddie had allegedly smoked marijuana in the presence of his son. Reddie was agitated and had allegedly threatened police when confronted with the marijuana accusation earlier in the day on Feb. 3.
The court order of Feb. 3, obtained by the Herald Times pursuant to a Freedom of Information request, indicated the minor child’s removal from Reddie’s custody for the following reason: “There are reasonable grounds for this court to remove the child(ren) from the parent ... because conditions or surroundings of the child(ren), and is contrary to the welfare of the child(ren) to remain in the home because: It is alleged that the father used marijuana in the home in the presence of the child. In addition, there is concern for the safety of the child due to a
domestic disturbance and threats made toward law enforcement by the father.”
A Feb. 3 press release from the sheriff’s department alleged that Reddie had lunged at police and social workers with a knife and the deputy “contained” the situation by shooting Reddie with a revolver.
Reddie died within seconds in his apartment around 4:41 p.m. Feb. 3 after being shot in the chest at close range, according to his death certificate obtained by the Herald Times.
Reddie, who had physical custody of his son, had petitioned the court for permanent custody and a hearing on that petition was scheduled for Monday, Feb. 6.
A resident of the apartment complex, who lived across the parking lot from Reddie, said he saw police go into the apartment and within a few minutes he heard gun shots.
“I heard two shots,” said Brian Jackson. “A friend who lives in the building heard the shots and ran into the hall to see two young children run out. He said Reddie was face down on the floor.”
A state police report said only one shot was fired.
While Michal doesn’t know exactly what happened inside Reddie’s apartment during the shooting, it should have ended differently, she said.
“It is particularly sad that Will was shot to death right in front of his son,” she said. “I was married to a 30-year infantry man and my son is a sharpshooter in the Army. You never take your gun out of the holster unless you’re ready to use it. Why not use a Taser? Even if he (Will) had a knife and lunged at police, they didn’t have to kill him. Instead of using a Taser, you shoot him in front of his child. It is just totally unjustified. They didn’t have to kill him. I think it’s very sad that his life was taken during the removal of his son. And the smell of marijuana shouldn’t have been a reason for an emergency order.
“Just a few days before he was killed, Will was visiting, and he was so excited because a hearing was coming up for custody (of his son),” Michal continued. “And it seemed to give him hope of getting permanent custody. His son was everything to him.”
Michal said she often saw Reddie with his son, although he didn’t like working while he had his son.
Michal had known Reddie since he was a teenager.
“My husband (now deceased) had known Will, and he introduced me to him. Since he was a teenager he’s always done odd jobs around the house and yard.”
Balkis Shippy, another friend of Reddie’s who knew him since he was a teenager, said she still can’t believe it. Shippy, who has lived in Grayling since the early 1970s, said she first knew Reddie’s mother from working with her at the Grayling Big Boy.
Later, Reddie would become friends with Balkis and her husband, Fred.
“He would do odd jobs for us from time to time, and he was always helpful,” she said. “I can’t believe this kid is gone. He was very nice and he was always polite.”
She said Reddie’s son is “just a beautiful little boy. I would see him (Reddie) with his son going back and forth, and he always talked about his son and how some day he would be getting full custody.”
Crawford County Clerk Sandra Moore said she also knew Reddie.
“It’s truly a shame,”Moore said. “He was a good guy and very fond of his son. He had been very excited just days before” about the possibility of getting permanent custody on Feb. 6.
According to court records, the child is now in a foster care home and his future remains uncertain.