Two help MSP trooper being attacked at side of road

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Two men helped a Michigan State trooper being assaulted Monday by two other men at the side of a Berrien County road, officials said.

Trooper Garry Guild, a 21-year veteran of the state police, was treated for minor injuries at a hospital and released, said Lt. Melinda Logan.

Logan said two men helped Guild after he allegedly was attacked at the side of the road by a motorcyclist who crashed and another driver, the brother of suspect on the motorcycle, who also pulled up and began attacking the trooper, police said. The good Samaritans were identified by police as a 50-year-old man from Plainwell and Jerry Burnham of Berrien Springs.

“Thankfully, those citizens were there and they helped protect the trooper,” Logan said Tuesday. “They put themselves at risk and we deeply appreciate that.”

On Tuesday, Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic identified the two men who attacked the trooper and charged both with several crimes. Both were arraigned on the charges Tuesday.

The first man has been identified as Michael Scott Barber, 21, of Gobles. Sepic said Barber has been charged with assault strangulation, a 10-year felony; third-degree fleeing and eluding police, a five-year felony; resisting a police officer and causing injury, a four-year felony; receiving and concealing a stolen motor vehicle, a five-year felony; and attempting to disarm a police officer, (a taser), a two-year felony.

Barber’s bond was set at $75,000 and he’s scheduled to appear at the Berrien County Trial Court in Niles on March 1, according to Sepic.

The second man, Travis Wise, 19, of Middlebury, Indiana, was similarly charged except for fleeing and eluding police.

Wise’s bond was set at $100,000 and he’s also scheduled to appear in court on March 1, Sepic said.

Before 9 a.m. Monday, Guild attempted to stop a speeding motorcycle traveling south on the U.S. 31 bypass near Matthew Road in Berrien Township. Barber was driving the motorcycle, according to Sepic.

Police said the driver initially stopped the motorcycle, but then accelerated and re-entered the freeway, officials said.

After leading Guild on a three-mile chase, the suspect tried to to maneuver in the triangular area between the freeway and an exit ramp when he lost control of the motorcycle, police said.

After crashing, the driver charged at Guild, according to state police.

Guild tried to subdue the man, but as he wrestled with him, a vehicle pulled up, a man got out and began attacking the trooper. The second man, who later was identified as Wise, the motorcycle rider’s brother, allegedly punched Guild in the face.

The 50-year-old man and Burnham subdued the attackers and Guild was able to arrest the motorcycle rider.

Logan said police continue to investigate the incident and have discovered the motorcycle was stolen from Van Buren County.

“Trooper Guild followed all of the procedures,” Logan said. “This was a unique situation.”