09-22-2016 Tri-City Area Obituaries

Obituaries

Ronald “Wayne” Bird

w-byrd-ronald-photo

 Ronald “Wayne” Byrd, 67, formerly of Coloma, went to be with our Lord on September 12, 2016 at the Veteran’s Hospital in North Little Rock, Arkansas following a long illness.  Memorial services were held Saturday, September 17, 2016 at the Davidson Chapel of Florin Funeral Service, Coloma. Cremation has taken place and burial will be at a later date in Mayflower, Arkansas. Please share memories, messages or photos at www.florin.net.  Wayne was born in Marked Tree, Arkansas on February 22, 1949 to Evan and Ola Mae Byrd. The family moved to the Coloma area in 1951. Wayne was a graduate of Coloma High School after which he joined the Army for two years and was stationed in Arizona and California. After his military service, he was a top-notch mechanic for a fork lift company. He married Debbie and she preceded him in death.  Wayne is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Hamblen; granddaughter Klarisa Kay Hamblen; and a grandson Evan Kenneth Hamblen, all of Mayflower, Arkansas; sisters, Mary and Brenda; and brothers, Donald, Ricky, Mickey and Terry.


Death Notices

 William L. Atherton, 88, of Watervliet died Sep. 12, 2016 at the home of his son. Harper Funeral Home, Kalamazoo.  Charles “Chuck” Fain, 80, of Loveland, Colorado died Sep. 4, 2016. Formerly of Benton Harbor. Allnutt Funeral Services, Colorado.  Rodney Struble, 68, originally from Millburg died Sep. 2, 2016 at his home in Haiti. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 p.m. at Millburg Christian Church, 4915 North Branch Rd., Benton Harbor.  Anthony A. “Tony” Jakubowski, 66, of St. Joseph died Sep. 15, 2016 at home. Starks & Menchinger Chapel, St. Joseph.  Betty Erna Leider, 87, of Stevensville died Sep. 16, 2016 at home. Starks & Menchinger Chapel, St. Joseph.  Joan M. Berndt, 80, of Benton Harbor died Sep. 14, 2016 at Royalton Manor, Royalton Twp. Fairplain Chapel of Florin Funeral Service, Benton Harbor.

Police Reports

By Annette Christie

Hartford Motor Speedway breaking and entering suspects wanted

The Hartford Police Department would like any help with identifying any of four individuals who broke into the Hartford Speedway early Thursday morning (Wednesday night). If anybody has any information, please contact the Hartford Police at 269-621-3225 or go to http://www.cityofhartfordmi.org/police.htm and tell us what you know in the silent observer. Thank you!

Gun toting motorcyclist ends run in Coloma

   A motorcyclist who allegedly shot a gun at a semi over an incident on I-94 ended up getting arrested once he was stopped near Coloma.   Officers from Lincoln Township Police Department responded to the 24-mile marker of eastbound I-94 on Friday, September 16 to investigate an apparent road rage incident involving the two vehicles.  Allen Shotko, 45, of Cedar Springs, Michigan told officers that he had been driving his 2015 Freightliner semi-truck and trailer through the eastbound construction zone when he encountered a motorcyclist who became very angry and subsequently pulled a pistol from his coat and shot at Shotko.  This occurred as both vehicles were traveling down the highway.  A bullet hole was located in the truck’s radiator causing damage to the vehicle; however, Shotko was not injured.   A detail description of the motorcycle was given to 911 by Shotko.  While Shotko had pulled over after the incident the motorcycle continued traveling.  Officers from the Coloma Township Police Department and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office stopped the suspected motorcycle (2014 Harley-Davidson) at the 38.2-mile marker after it had been observed by a Michigan State Police motor carrier unit.  Prior to the stop, another report had been called in that the same motorcycle had displayed a pistol during a different incident between Stevensville and Watervliet, however, no shots were reportedly fired and the caller was not identified.   The motorcyclist, Trenton Norris, 34, of Porter, Indiana, was found to be in possession of a .40 caliber pistol.  Norris admitted the incident, indicating that the truck cut him off in the construction zone.  Norris did however state that he did not intend to cause the driver any physical harm.   Norris was lodged on assault and weapons charges in the Berrien County Jail. On Monday, September 19, the charges of assault to do great bodily harm less than murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, discharge of a firearm from a motor vehicle, and carrying a concealed weapon were authorized by the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office.  He is expected to be arraigned this week.

Perez mental treatment delayed

 The need to get mental treatment for a man charged with two murders, had delayed court proceedings even further pending that treatment.  In June of this year, Alex Perez, 24, was ruled incompetent to stand trial for the murders of Renee Mitchell, 27 and John Mitchell, 67, both of Hagar Township.    The Mitchell father and daughter were found slain on January 14 in their Hagar Township home.  Perez is charged with two counts of first-degree premeditated murder in connection with their deaths.  It is alleged that Perez also took the two young children of Renee Mitchell.  Their disappearance was the subject of a country wide Amber Alert.  They were found in the possession of Perez in a vehicle parked in a parking lot in Colorado.    In April, Berrien County Trial Court Judge Scott Schofield ordered that Perez be tested to determine if he was competent to stand trial.  In June, it was determined based on those examinations that Perez was not competent.  Schofield stated then that the declaration was not permanent and that the plan would be that through treatment, Perez may be found competent and then the court proceedings could move forward.      Perez is being held on $5 million bond.  If convicted, he faces two mandatory life sentences with no chance for parole.

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Death Notices

Gerald Fricke, 92, of St. Joseph died July 25, 2021 at home. Starks & Menchinger Chapel, St. Joseph Elizabeth Kurbis, 77, of Coloma died July 25, 2021 at Lakeland Hospital, Niles. Starks & Menchinger