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August 4, 2000

Domestic dispute turns explosive

Kalkaska County man in jail after he allegedly detonated simulation grenades near officers

By MIKE NORTON
Record-Eagle staff writer
KALKASKA - What began as a call to a domestic dispute early Thursday morning turned into a frightening struggle - complete with explosives - when an enraged suspect threatened to kill himself and the officers trying to subdue him, police said.
      The suspect, 41-year-old Randall Dellinger, is in the county jail awaiting six felony charges, including possession of an explosive device with unlawful intent, two counts of resisting and obstructing a police officer, and three counts of domestic violence. He was scheduled for arraignment late this morning.
      The explosives turned out to be simulation grenades used in training soldiers for combat. They produced little more than a loud noise and a small fire that was quickly extinguished, but the damage could conceivably been much worse, said Kalkaska County Prosecutor Brian Donnelly.
      "Apparently he detonated two of these devices and had a third unexploded one," said Donnelly. "These are extremely dangerous things. It's a powerful explosive; they just don't have the shrapnel of a regular grenade. This man was very, very fortunate that the police officers showed the restraint they did."
      The incident began around 2 a.m. when the sheriff's department received a report of a domestic disturbance at the Dellinger residence near Bear Lake, north of M-72. Deputy Patrick Whiteford was dispatched to the scene, but as he drove up to the house he saw the suspect run out and throw something at the front of his car. It exploded seconds later with a loud noise, according to Lt. Bruce Gualtiere of the county sheriff's department.
      As Whiteford radioed for assistance, the suspect reportedly attacked the patrol car, hitting and kicking the windows, screaming that he had a grenade and threatening to kill himself and the deputy. Whiteford tried to back his cruiser away from the scene, with Dellinger hanging onto the car and trying to break the windows, police said, but the car's wheels became stuck in sand at the side of the road.
      Two officers responded to Whiteford's call for help - Deputy Steve Brown, who came from his home, and Kalkaska police officer Glen Artress, who came from the village.
      When they saw what was going on they ordered Dellinger to stop, Gualtiere said.
      Instead, the man charged at Brown, still shouting that he had a grenade and that they were both going to die. The two struggled for several minutes until the man was finally subdued, Gualtiere said.
      Police aren't certain where Dellinger obtained the simulation grenades. The devices could have caused great harm if one had gone off inside the patrol car, said Gualtiere.
      Firefighters from the Bear Lake Township fire department were summoned to put out the fire started by the explosive device, and an emergency medical team was dispatched from the hospital to handle any injuries.
      Brown received an injury to his hand and was treated at Kalkaska Memorial Health Center. Dellinger, who also received minor injuries, refused treatment.
      "It was pretty bad, but it could have been worse," said Gualtiere.
     
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