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Kentwood man's death determined 'suicide by cop'


KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Kent County prosecutor released a statement Thursday saying the officer who shot and killed a man in last month was justified in his actions.

Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth said it appears Timothy Arnold, 47, intended to die by suicide by cop and Officer Jonathon Carter was within his rights when he shot and killed him.

On Oct. 21, officers responded to Sutton Club Apartments, located near the corner of 60th Street and Kalamazoo Avenue, to check up on Arnold, who was a resident. A family friend had contacted police to say he was suicidal.

No one answered when two officers from the Kentwood Police Department knocked on the door.

Arnold came out of his apartment shortly thereafter, confronted an officer and pointed a gun at him. Kentwood police say Monday that officer Jonathon Carter, a six-year veteran, shot Arnold, who died at the scene.

Art Van lights up Wonderland display


KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM) -- The holiday season is officially underway along 28th Street.

Art Van flipped the switch Thursday night on its Wonderland display, at its 28th St. store between East Paris and Patterson.

Fireworks went off as more than a million lights turned on, both in and outside the store.

The celebration also featured Santa's helpers, delicious desserts, and elaborate, life-size gingerbread houses. Media personalities, including WZZM 13 meteorologist Laura Hartman and photojournalist Delal Pektas, participated in a lip sync competition.

You can see the Wonderland display through December 31.

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'Operation Warm' donates new coats to local kids


KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM) -- Kentwood firefighters are spreading the warmth with a coat drive for underprivileged children.

Firefighters provided brand-new winter coats to over 30 children in the Kentwood Public Schools on Wednesday.

It's all a part of Operation Warm, a national non-profit dedicated to warming the hearts, minds and bodies of children in need.

"With our poverty levels reaching 62%, our children and schools benefit from this program in more ways than one," said Kurt Nuffer, Local 3174. "By nature of our service to the community, we're able to see the harsh effects poverty has on these children first hand."

Operation Warm has manufactured 90,000 coats, all American-made. Since 1998, the program has reached more than 1.2 million children, nationwide.


Jamarion Lawhorn, 13, sentenced in boy's playground death


Update.: Jamarion Lawhorn gets a blended sentence for the murder of 9-year-old Connor Verkerke.

He will live in a juvenile home until a determination is made regarding a potential adult sentence when he turns 21.

During his sentencing, the Verkerke family gave emotional testimony. His father, Jared, recalled the day his son was stabbed multiple times by Jamarion.  

"There are no words to explain, holding my dying son in my arms," Verkerke's father said. "These scenes replay in my head and make a horror movie seem docile by comparison."

Jamarion also apologized to the Verkerke family. His mother says the family agrees with the sentence.  

"If he puts the work in, then that's fine. But if not, I agree with the option being there for him to continue to be locked up to protect society," says Dani Verkerke.

Man has heart attack, dies after crashing vehicle


KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM) -- One man is dead after crashing his vehicle into a tree on Steelcase property Tuesday night.

The incident happened at 8:10 p.m. in the 4300 block of 52nd Street.

After a preliminary investigation, Kentwood police determined Abram John, 42, drove his car from a parking lot, down West Context Street, onto the grass and over a small hill, before crossing West Main and crashing into a tree.

John was taken to Metro Hospital where he later died. According to the medical examiner's office, the Ionia man died as a result of a heart attack.

GRR to launch TSA Pre-Check enrollment


CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- Travelers flying out of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport will soon be able to save time during security check-ins.

The Transportation Security Administration's Pre-Check program will allow folks to speed through the airport's screening process by leaving on their shoes, light jackets, and belts; and leaving laptops and compliant liquids in carry-on bags.

Flyers can enroll in the program online starting Dec. 7 through Dec. 11.

Passengers will still need to bring proper documentation proving their identity and citizenship status. The application process requires fingerprints for a background check and costs $85.

After completing enrollment, successful applicants will receive a Known Traveler Number that is valid for five years.

2 people ejected from vehicle in Kentwood crash


KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM) -- Two people were ejected from their vehicle in an accident Sunday morning, Grand Rapids police say.

The crash occurred just before 11:30 a.m. near Breton Road SE and 32nd Street SE in Kentwood. Police at the scene report two people were thrown from the vehicle, which ended up on its roof.