Niles man sentenced for shooting MSP trooper

Published 1:40 pm Monday, June 27, 2022

NILES — The man who shot and injured Michigan State Trooper Jason DeVries will spend the next several years in prison after being sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court.

Berrien County Trial Judge Sterling Schrock sentenced Isaac Ntabaazi to 36 months to five years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm, 36 months to five years in prison for carrying a concealed weapon, 16 months to two years for reckless/careless discharge, two years on each of the felony firearm counts and 100 months to 15 years on the resisting and obstructing count.

The felony firearm and resisting and obstructing counts will be served consecutively. The judge said Ntabaazi will serve two years for the felony firearms counts, followed by the three concurrent 16 months and 36 months sentences and then the 100 month sentence.

“It’s clear to me that you were capable to think, anticipate and avoid completely the behavior you engaged in,” the judge told Ntabaazi. “What happened there is incomprehensible to me. What caused you to behave that way.”

The shooting occurred last fall on Oct. 6 when DeVries stopped the car Ntabaazi was a passenger in near downtown Niles. DeVries was shot once in the thigh and is paralyzed from the right knee down. DeVries shot Ntabaazi twice resulting in him losing his eyesight.

Ntabaazi, 24, of Niles, was found guilty by a Berrien County Trial Court jury in mid May of seven counts related to the shooting, but not the most serious count he faced, assault with intent to murder which carries a maximum penalty of up to life in prison.

Jurors found him guilty of three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, one count of carrying a concealed weapon, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, reckless/careless discharge of a firearm causing injury or death and resisting and obstructing police causing serious bodily impairment.

Monday, Schrock heard from both DeVries and Ntabaazi before handing down his sentence. He departed upwards from the sentencing guidelines, noting that they did not adequately address the circumstances of the incident and how Ntabaazi pulled a concealed weapon out and shot the trooper.

“I watched the video (from the police camera), it was clear when you got out of the car that your hands were empty,” Schrock added. “So the weapon was concealed on your person … You clearly and intentionally secured the weapon in your hand and discharged it into the trooper.”

DeVries said the incident has changed his life completely. He noted that he has always dreamed of being a trooper and had wanted to pursue special training before this incident. He said that he’s had long bouts of insomnia and agonizing pain.

“In six seconds, you took that all away,” he said. “You ruined my career and then I see your eyes and how messed up your life is. Doing something stupid ruined both of our lives.”

Ntabaazi apologized to DeVries and said he took full responsibility for his actions. “I always wanted to be a good person,” he said. “I never felt the need to go down the road of violence. I made a very bad decision to go out that night. I’m very remorseful for my actions but I can’t take them back.”