VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, Mich. — An armed man who called himself a “sovereign citizen” was fatally shot Friday by Michigan State Police after racing away from a traffic stop and leading troopers on a chase in suburban Detroit, authorities said.
The man was shot when he emerged from his pickup truck outside a rural park, ran to trees and pointed a gun at troopers, Lt. Mike Shaw said.
Shaw said he didn’t know if the man fired his gun before he was killed.
The man was stopped in Taylor for a seat belt violation and asked for identification, Shaw said.
He “stated he was a sovereign citizen and was not required to provide anything to law enforcement. Troopers attempted to take him into custody as far as breaking the rear window of the pickup truck,” Shaw said. “The suspect sped away.”
The chase lasted for miles and ended at Lower Huron Metro Park in Van Buren Township.
“He assumed a shooting stance or pointed the weapon or displayed the weapon at troopers. At which time they fired,” Shaw said.
The dead man had no identification, and Shaw said investigators were working to learn his name through fingerprints.
By calling himself a “sovereign citizen,” it wasn’t clear if the man was referring to an anti-government movement by the same name in which members reject their U.S. citizenship and typically don’t recognize government authority. It also wasn’t known whether he had any affiliation with such a group.
Shaw said the shooting could have been avoided if the man had cooperated.
“Now we’ve got to go tell a family that … their loved one is dead because of a contact with law enforcement,” he said.