Nearly 4 dozen gunshots fired at homeless Saginaw man - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Nearly 4 dozen gunshots fired at homeless Saginaw man

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(07/05/12) - Was it excessive force, or a justified shooting?

That's the question surrounding the shooting death of a homeless man by Saginaw police officers earlier this week.

Six Saginaw Police Officers were involved.

The officers say the homeless man, Milton Hall, was holding a knife and making aggressive movements toward them.

But witnesses say police didn't have to shoot.

The Michigan State Police are now investigating, and ABC12 has also uncovered some new information.

Thursday, we learned just how many shots were fired at Milton Hall Sunday afternoon.  

We have also learned that some of the high tech equipment used by Saginaw Police, that could help investigators determine what exactly happened, were not working when the shooting took place.

The reminders of Sunday's shooting are still evident in the parking lot of the Riverside Plaza in Saginaw. Marks where bullets hit are on a clothing deposit box, marked as evidence by the Michigan State Police.

ABC12 News has learned that approximately 46 gunshots were fired at Milton Hall. It's still not clear how man times Hall was hit. And while investigators have some video of the incident, most of the high-tech audio and video equipment on the officers and their cars didn't work properly.

The officers involved in the shooting incident were wearing lapel microphones, microphones that would pick up their conversations and possibly whatever Mr. Hall was saying back to police. We've learned those lapel microphones were not working.

Several Saginaw Police cars were equipped with cameras at the scene, but law enforcement officials say only one of the cameras captured the shooting. It's not clear why the microphones didn't work, or why the other car cameras didn't capture the incident. One thing is clear to some people, Milton Hall had mental health problems.

"To our knowledge, he was living here in abandoned houses and just getting by," says Dan Streeter of the City Rescue Mission in Saginaw.

He says Hall lived at the mission, but had to be removed because of his behavior.  His staff recommended he get mental health treatment, but Hall refused.

"He never acted out in a way that we could have suggested for him to be petitioned and go before a court for that, he was always right there on the line, and yet he himself would never submit for it," says Streeter.

Six police officers are on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues.

Funeral services for Milton Hall will be held Friday.

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