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Prosecutor’s office: Shooting justified

Published 7:52pm Thursday, March 1, 2012

Authorities have determined a Berrien County sheriff’s deputy was justified in shooting and killing a Niles man last month during an arrest in Clay Township just south of the state line.

Deputy Trent Babcock shot and killed burglary suspect William Barker, 37, Feb. 13 after a confrontation outside of a home on Wedgewood Drive.

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department received a tip that a person wanted on a felony warrant was at a hotel on State Road 933.

Police spotted Barker and his vehicle at the hotel and followed him to the parking lot of the Pay N Pakit near State Line Road in South Bend.

Barker then attempted to break into a home on Wedgewood Drive when Babcock confronted him. Babcock pulled a knife and cut the officer’s hand. Babcock then fired shots at Barker.

The St. Joseph County prosecutor’s office ruled it a justifiable homicide and an act of self defense by Babcock, who is expected to return to work Monday, according to Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey.

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