MSP Trooper Recognized for Actions During Deadly Comstock Home Invasion
Michigan State Police Trooper Mark Fletcher has been named Trooper of the Year for his selfless and heroic action during a deadly 2019 Comstock home invasion.
Michigan State Police (MSP) announced that Trooper Mark Fletcher of the Paw Paw Post has been named the 2020 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)/Motorola Solutions Trooper of the Year. Fletcher is being recognized for his courageous actions during a deadly home invasion in Comstock Township in which he and two fellow officers were also shot.
Trooper Fletcher was among the law enforcement officers who responded to a home invasion during which a man was taken hostage, while his wife and daughter hid in the upstairs of the home. The incident occurred on December 1, 2019, at approximately 10:00 p.m. officers from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, along with the Michigan State Police, responded to the 6300 block of Proctor Avenue, in Comstock Township, to assist the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office.
Information had been received that an unknown person had entered a home and was armed with a gun. There were multiple residents in the home at the time. Upon hearing gunfire inside the house, officers entered the house to rescue the hostages.
Once inside, and when they determined the male hostage was unharmed, they safely rescued the woman and her child. As the officers attempted to negotiate with the gunman, he continued to fire shots intermittently through the floor and walls into adjacent rooms, eventually striking three of the responding officers, including Trooper Fletcher.
Fletcher immediately rendered first aid to one of the injured officers before realizing he had also been shot below the knee. Fletcher then utilized his tourniquet on his own leg and continued administering first aid to one of the injured officers as he and the other two officers were transported to the hospital.
The gunman ultimately broke a window and left the residence, but he didn’t get far, as officers outside the home were able to apprehend him and take him into custody. It was later determined that the gunman killed the male hostage before fleeing the home.
The gunman was later identified as 35-year-old William Paul Jones of Battle Creek. He is accused of killing 22-year-old Christopher Neal during the incident. Neal's pregnant wife and two-year-old daughter survived the incident due to Neal distracting the gunman and the responding law enforcement officers' quick response.
Police say Jones had just been released from the Calhoun County Jail on November 26, 2019, and that he has a long criminal history. Jones was arraigned on December 3, 2019, on one charge of open murder, one charge of home invasion resulting in murder, three counts of assault with intent to commit murder on a police officer as well as 14 other felony charges.
We reached out to Neal's wife for comment on Trooper Fletcher's recognition. While she is unable to provide a statement at this time due to the pending trial, she did say she was incredibly thankful for what the responding officers have done for her and her family.