Man Pleads Guilty For Role In Kalamazoo Officer’s Death

KALAMAZOO (WWJ/AP) – The brother of a man accused of fatally shooting a Kalamazoo police officer before killing himself has pleaded guilty to felony possession of a firearm.

Thirty-two-year-old Kim Statler of Kalamazoo pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court. Statler could face up to 10 years in prison if his guilty plea is accepted by Judge Paul Maloney.

Officer Eric Zapata was killed April 18 when police responded to shots being fired at the home of Statler and his brother, Leonard. When officers arrived at the home, Leonard was standing on the porch. When the officers approached Leonard, he brandished a handgun, prompting an exchange of gunfire.

Police say Statler then ran in between houses on Hays Park, where he met with other officers who had responded to the scene. Another exchange of gunshots took place wherein Zapata received a fatal shot. Police say Leonard killed himself immediately afterward.

Authorities say the Statlers were drinking alcohol and playing video games when they went outdoors and fired their guns.

The 35-year-old officer was a 10-year veteran of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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