Officer Eric Zapata: Kalamazoo Dept. of Public Safety
UPDATE NOON - KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WZZM) - The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety has identified the officer who was shot and killed overnight.
35-year-old Eric Zapata, a 10-year veteran of the department, was killed in the shooting in the 1400 block of Hays Park.
During an afternoon news conference Chief Jeff Hadley choked back tears as he described Zapata as a friendly officer who was always smiling. Hadley says Zapata was the the father of 3 children but their ages are unknown at this time.
The man accused of killing Officer Zapata is identified as Dan Statler.
The shooting happened shortly after 11pm Monday night in the 1400 block of Hays Park in Kalamazoo. Police were called there to investigate a report of shots fired.
A preliminary investigation shows that when officers arrived they encountered Statler standing on a porch and asked him if he had heard any gunshots in the area. Police say that's when 31-year old Dan Statler advanced toward one of the officers and pulled out a handgun and exchanged gunfire. Other officers in the area say seconds later they heard more gun shots.
Authorities say the suspect had confronted the second officer, Eric Zapata, who was trying to block him. They say the that's when Statler shot and killed officer Zapata and then turned the gun on himself. Statler died at the scene.
Kalamazoo man kills officer, himself | wzzm13.com