Neighbors along Proctor Avenue in Comstock Township expressed shock Monday after learning one of the newest members to their community was gunned down in his home at random.
“To have it random, it’s really scary," said Karen Jameson.
Jameson lives several homes away on the same street where Neal was killed and three were wounded.
The Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office said Monday 22-year-old Christopher Neal, along with his wife and young daughter, were at home watching TV when an armed intruder broke into the home.
Sheriff Richard Fuller said Neal told his wife to take their child and hide, then call the police.
“First we seen the lights and we were wondering, ‘what in the hell’s going on?’” said Cheryl Little.
Little lives two doors down from where the shooting took place.
As the victim's wife and child hid while on the phone with dispatchers, the intruder, who had held the family hostage for 40 minutes, shot and killed Neal.
"Then I heard the lady screaming and I knew something was serious," Little said.
Fuller said once officers heard gunshots, they entered the home. A Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Officer Caleb Jones, a Kalamazoo County Sheriff deputy, and Michigan State Police Trooper Mark Fletcher were shot as they entered the home to confront the suspect.
“It’s too bad they didn’t shoot him," Little said. "You know, I hate to say that because I’m a God fearing person, but nobody deserves to go through that. That’s gonna be a scar on that little girl forever.”
Neighbors said Neal and his family has just moved in to the neighborhood in November. No one we spoke to had spoken to them.
“I am very sorry for them," said Jameson. "Like I said, I did not know them, but it’s just an awful thing, just awful.”
“It’s horrible," Little said. "I.. it just just brings me to tears to know what that woman’s going through and her child."
The victim's sister-in-law, Emilie Murphy, said Christopher Neal was "a loving father and doting husband who everyone loved. He adored his wife and child.”
“It’s shocking and terrifying, and scary," Jameson said.