Crime

Richland police shoot 74-year-old man making threats with a shotgun

Scene of Richland officer-involved shooting

A Richland police officer shot 74-year-old Michael H. Miller of Richland outside The Bridge church April 7, 2019 after he allegedly fired a shotgun in the air and then pointed it at police officers. The suspect's condition is unknown.
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A Richland police officer shot 74-year-old Michael H. Miller of Richland outside The Bridge church April 7, 2019 after he allegedly fired a shotgun in the air and then pointed it at police officers. The suspect's condition is unknown.

Update to this story: 74-year-old man shot by officer was on the ground for 48 minutes until SWAT could get close

A 74-year-old man was shot by police near a Richland church Sunday morning.

Michael H. Miller of Richland called 911 about 9 a.m. Sunday, telling a dispatcher he had a shotgun and saying he was near The Bridge, a church in north Richland, according to Richland police.

Police found him in the area of Jadwin Avenue and Berkshire Street not far from the church building.

When they tried to talk to him, he fired his shotgun into the air, according to police reports.

Officers continued to try to communicate with him, until he pointed his shotgun at them, said police.

When he refused their orders, officers fired at Miller and he was hit.

Medics were at the scene and treated him as soon as police said it was safe to approach him. He was taken to a hospital and his condition was not immediately available.

The Tri-City Regional SWAT team was called to the incident, arriving shortly after Miller was shot. They helped to take Miller into custody, according to police reports.

Officer placed on leave

The Tri-City Special Investigations Unit, made up of detectives from area police departments, will investigate the shooting.

The name of an officer who shot Miller has not been released. He has been placed on administrative leave, as is police policy.

About a month ago Tri-City police agencies announced a new program to have mental health professionals ride with police officers to provide immediate help when people are in mental health crises.

However, no mental health professional was at the incident because the incident unfolded quickly and in an environment where safety could not be ensured, said police officials.

The Bridge Church had no services that had started yet at the time of the confrontation, but those who were in the church were evacuated, said Richland police.

The section of Jadwin Avenue near Berkshire Street was expected to be closed to traffic for most of Sunday while the investigation continued.

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