Two Benton Harbor police officers wounded in deadly overnight shooting
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- Gunshots rang out late last night on Highland Avenue, as police were set to arrest Dustin Levell Saffell-- who had two felony warrants and multiple drug and gun charges.
Earlier this week, Saffell had managed to evade police twice, and had even boasted about doing so on social media-- and made multiple videos showing off the extended magazines for his handgun.
But around 11:20pm on Thursday, Sgt. Reginald Gee located a vehicle that had been linked to Saffell on Highland Avenue, and he called in backup-- officer Blake Kinzler.
Saffell was inside the car as Sgt. Gee approached.
“Sgt. Gee went to make contact with Mr. Saffell," Benton Harbor's Director of Public Safety Daniel McGinnis explained. "Mr. Saffell then exited the car and immediately started shooting at Sgt. Gee.”
In Sgt. Gee's bodycam video, Saffell exited the passenger side door-- gun in hand-- and fired multiple shots at him. Gee shouted "I'm hit! I'm hit!" as he hit the ground and fired back.
“Sgt. Gee returned fire, ultimately striking Mr. Saffell and ultimately killing him," McGinnis said. "There were at least fifteen rounds shot by Mr. Saffell, at officers.”
Both officers were wounded by Saffell during the gunfight-- but they are already on the road to recovery.
McGinnis commended their bravery-- as they were aware that Saffell was potentially armed and had been considered dangerous.
“Although they used caution, there was nothing that lead them to believe that he was going to turn and fire on them this time," said McGinnis. "Again, I have to commend my guys for being that aware, because Gee, the only thing between him and Saffell was green grass. I’m pleased with the quality of officers that we have. This is a very difficult situation. They have a love for this city, and we appreciate that.”
The incident is currently under investigation by the Michigan State Police.
It is unclear when the officers will return to duty.