Man Accused of Shooting Police Officer in the Face Arrested After Manhunt

By Zachary Stieber

The suspect in the shooting of a Michigan police officer has been captured following a manhunt, Michigan State Police said on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Joshua Rosebush, 29, shot Officer Jeffrey Koenig in the jaw after the officer pulled Rosebush over at about 2 a.m. on Tuesday, officials said. The stop was conducted in Kochville Township in Saginaw County, about 85 miles east of Detroit.

Rosebush was captured on Tuesday afternoon.

He was spotted by officers in Shiawassee County and pursued during a brief chase.

During the chase, Rosebush shot at officers pursuing him and they fired back, Michigan State Police said. Fortunately, no other officers were injured but Rosebush, once captured, was taken to a hospital for treatment for a gunshot wound.

“We are thankful that no one else was seriously injured. A successful cooperative effort between our local, state, and federal partners. Your public safety officers have been working this case throughout the night and all day, and will need to continue investigating into the night,” the state police said in a statement.

The Michigan Department of Corrections told WNEM that Rosebush has a history of assaulting or obstructing a public officer, among other things.

The vehicle he was driving was alleged to be stolen. Officers also found another vehicle that Rosebush allegedly stole in Saginaw County and drove prior to stealing the second vehicle.

shooting scene michigan
The scene after a shooting in Kochville Township in Saginaw County, Michigan on Jan. 22, 2019. Suspect Joshua Rosebush was captured later in the day, the Michigan State Police said in an update. (Michigan State Police)

Saginaw Township Police Chief Don Pussehl said that it’s the first time an officer has been shot during a traffic stop in his 15 years with the department and may be the first time ever.

Koenig, a 16-year veteran of the force, was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

The condition became stable several hours later and the officer is expected to survive.

Dispatch audio from a call Koenig made after getting shot in the jaw captured him saying: “I’ve been shot!”

“I got shot in the face,” he added, reported WSPY.

In a press conference on Tuesday morning, Pussehl said: “It’s an unfortunate day here in Saginaw Township where we had an officer, conducting a traffic stop this morning, who was shot while conducting that traffic stop.”

He added, “I am pleased to report that the officer is doing better, still in critical condition but he has stabilized and he is currently at a local hospital and anticipate that this afternoon he will be flown to University of Michigan Hospital for further treatment.”

Jeffrey Koenig, a 16-year veteran of the Saginaw Township Police Department, was rushed to the hospital on Jan. 22, 2019, after being shot in the jaw during a traffic stop. (Saginaw Township Police Department)

Traffic Stops Dangerous for Officers

The National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund (pdf) said traffic stops are notoriously dangerous for police officers in the United States.

Officers being shot and killed while responding to domestic incidents and while conducting traffic stops were the two leading causes of death in 2017, the group’s annual report stated.

The fund said that there 144 law enforcement officer fatalities in 2018—a 12 percent increase from 2017. Of the deaths, 53 were firearms-related. Traffic-related fatalities increased nine percent from 2017 with 50 officer deaths.

According to the most recent figures published by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “A greater percentage of male drivers (12 percent) than female drivers (8 percent) were stopped by police during 2011.”

“In 2011, about 3 percent of traffic stops led to a search of the driver, the vehicle, or both. Police were more likely to search male drivers (4 percent) than female drivers (2 percent),” the bureau added.

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