GRPD Officer killed Sunday morning
By WZZM 13
GRAND RAPIDS - Chief Harry Dolan says Officer Robert Kozminski died early Sunday morning during an ambush shooting on Emerald Avenue Northeast.

"This single act of violence has touched us all," says Mayor George Heartwell. "It frightens and saddens us."

Investigators say Officer Kozminski responded to a domestic violence call around 1:40 a.m. Sunday.

Police Chief Harry Dolan says Kozminski was "on a report of a family member walking in a home with a loaded shot gun threatening to kill the people inside."

"Unknown to the officer at the time, the suspect was lying in wait in the garage," Dolan says. "From that location, the suspect ambushed Officer Kozminski, shooting him in the head with a shotgun round through the glass portion of the closed garage door."

Dolan says fellow officer's carrier Kozminski away from the scene to a patrol car. They drove Kozminski to Spectrum Health's Butterworth campus, where he died from his injuries.

Officer Kozminski was a seven-year veteran of the force. He was 29-years-old and leaves behind a three-year-old daughter.

Kozminski's sister tells us that he was never known as Robert, but rather Bob or Bobby.

Chief Harry Dolan has identified the murder suspect as Jeffrey VanVels, who is in custody. Court records show that VanVels is in the midst of legal proceedings for divorce and custody of his children.

Witnesses tell WZZM 13 News they heard police yelling for someone to get out of the house. A short time later, witnesses say they heard shots in the area.

Police surrounded the house throughout the night, and put the neighborhood on a type of lockdown, not allowing people into the area. The Grand Rapids Police Department's Mobile Command Unit was on the scene, along with Chief Harry Dolan.

Officers went into the house in the early morning hours and took VanVels into custody.

Dolan called on Grand Rapids residents to remember Kozminski. "As a police chief, I couldn't be more proud of a police officer who gave his life today to protect a family."

"We will not be deterred by this single act of violence on one person," says Dolan. "Let us use this tragic death to re-commit ourselves to a safe community where violence is unwelcome."
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