Details released in Long John Silver’s robberyPublished 8:51am Tuesday, June 17, 2014
No charges will be filed against police officers involved in the shooting death of a man who robbed the Long John Silver’s restaurant in Niles in May.
Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic said that the officers shooting at the robber were “acting well within their duties as police officers as permitted by Michigan law.”
The robber was identified as 39-year-old Eddie Macon, Jr., of Niles.
Reports from various agencies reveal that at 11:09 p.m. on May 2, dispatchers received a call reporting a robbery at the Long John Silver’s restaurant located at 1015 S. 11th St.
Three police officers responding to the call entered the building from the front public entrance door; Berrien County Sheriff’s Deputy, Kevin Higgs; Michigan State Police Motor Carrier officer, Geoff Guthrie; and Niles City police officer James Kidwell.
Also responding and setting up a perimeter outside the premises were Niles City police officers Shane Daniels and Jenny Evans and Michigan State Police troopers Holly Tetro and Kelly Anderson.
Officers inside the building in the customer service area of the restaurant were able to visually confirm a robbery was taking place in the rear employee area, that employees were present in that area and that the robber was heading towards the back door. Closing time was 11 p.m. and there were no customers in the restaurant at the time. Officer Kidwell informed other officers by radio that the suspect was heading towards the back door. He observed the suspect open the back door, close it quickly and moments later the suspect re-opened the back door and fled.
Officers on the perimeter to the rear, or east side, of the restaurant became aware of the suspect’s impending exit, unholstered their duty weapons and waited. Several officers outside saw the rear exit door open and close quickly. During that brief opening, one officer saw that the suspect had a bag in his left hand and nothing in his right hand. When the door opened again and the suspect exited, that officer could see the man now had a firearm in his right hand.
Upon exiting, the suspect panned the firearm across the parking lot from officer to officer and began running northeast towards a residential area. Concerned for their own safety and the safety of others, and to stop the fleeing robber, three officers fired their weapons as the suspect ran. He fell to the ground, whereupon officers recovered his pistol, secured him and began medical assistance. Officers performed CPR on the suspect until ambulance personnel arrived. He was transported to Lakeland in Niles where he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
The firearm recovered from the suspect was a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol with a fully loaded magazine and was in a hammer cocked, locked position. Also recovered from the suspect was a white bag with money from the restaurant. Niles officer Evans, Michigan State Police trooper Tetro and Michigan State Police Motor Carrier officer Guthrie fired their weapons and discharged 15 rounds combined.
Macon had prior convictions out of Illinois for armed robbery in 1994 and carjacking in 2007.
Autopsy and Michigan State Police lab analysis revealed that Macon was shot once in the head and died as a result of a bullet fired from Evans’ weapon. He was also shot in the right thigh once by a bullet from Tetro’s weapon and another wound in the left thigh was unidentifiable as it was a through and through wound.
Employees inside the restaurant at the time of the robbery told police the following: An employee taking the trash out was confronted by the robber, dressed in dark clothing with a black bandana covering his face below his eyes and armed with a pistol. The employee eventually recognized the robber as Eddie Macon, the boyfriend of a former employee. Macon led that employee back into the restaurant through the back door. After Macon entered the restaurant, he gathered all four employees into an office at gunpoint, put the gun to the head of the manager and demanded money. These other employees also recognized the robber as Eddie Macon. The manager gathered money and put it into a Long John Silver’s bag. While gathering the money at the drive-through register, the manager was able to signal to her boyfriend, who was waiting for her in a car in the parking lot, to call the police.
After the manager’s return to the office area the money was packed into a bag. At about that time they all heard noises as if customers were entering the restaurant. The manager told Macon she would go tell the customers the restaurant was closed. The “customers” were actually the above noted police officers. Not wanting to jeopardize the other employees, the manager returned to the back, and told Macon the police were coming. Macon then readied himself to leave out the back door and told the manager, “someone is going to die tonight.”
Michigan law permits a police officer to use deadly force in defense of his or her own life, in defense of another, or in pursuit of a fleeing felon.
Agency participation in the investigation included the Michigan State Police, Niles post, 5th District Headquarters, and Forensic Science Division and the Niles Police Department.