Police identify man killed following Niles Township altercation

Published 1:24 pm Friday, October 1, 2021

NILES TOWNSHIP — Police have identified the man killed following a deadly altercation in Niles Township.

Friday afternoon, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office reported that Chaz Nathan McGowen, 28, of Benton Harbor, was shot and killed by police officers Thursday evening following an altercation.

At approximately 10:45 p.m. Thursday, a 911 call was received reporting a man with a knife at Franklin Woods, 1950 S. 13th St., Niles Charter Township.

Upon arrival, Berrien County Sheriff’s Office deputies encountered McGowen with a knife at lot #265.  Deputies attempted to deescalate the situation with several verbal commands and then deployed less-lethal rounds when McGowen refused to drop the knife, according to Sheriff Paul Bailey.

McGowen then charged at the deputies, which Bailey said forced them to use lethal force and shoot him. Life-saving measures were administered by the deputies on scene, but McGowen succumbed to his injuries.

The Michigan State Police have been requested and are performing the investigation into this officer-involved shooting incident.

The names of the two Berrien County Sheriff’s deputies are not being released until the investigation is complete. Both Berrien County Sheriff’s Office deputies have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation, which Bailey said is standard procedure.

“This is a tragic incident, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends,” Bailey said.