Prosecutor: Trooper justified in fatal UP shooting

Baraga, Michigan (AP) 2-09

A Michigan State Police trooper was justified and acted heroically when fatally shooting a man suspected of killing his girlfriend, the Baraga County prosecutor said during February.

Trooper Robert Carter, based at the L’Anse post, reasonably feared for his safety when Raymond Daniel-Kejuan Silas charged at the officer as he tried to make an arrest Jan. 22, Prosecutor Joseph O’Leary said.

“When confronted by this highly volatile situation, Trooper Carter kept his cool, bravely facing down Silas while simultaneously protecting the public and getting them out of harm’s way,” O’Leary said in a statement.

He said he reached his conclusion after studying reports prepared by state police, the FBI and the county medical examiner, plus other evidence including audio recordings of law enforcement radio traffic. More than 40 witnesses gave statements, O’Leary said.

The chain of events began when Silas telephoned 911 and confessed to killing his girlfriend, Chelsey LaFernier. Both were 23 and lived in Baraga.


Officers with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and Baraga Village Police went to LaFernier’s residence and found she had been stabbed to death.

State police broadcast an advisory describing Silas as possibly armed and dangerous. Carter spotted him driving on U.S. 41 and gave chase.

Silas again phoned 911, acknowledging he had killed LaFernier and saying he would ram another vehicle, O’Leary said. Shortly afterward, he did so and wound up in a ditch.

Numerous people stopped at the crash scene. Carter drove up and tried to arrest Silas, drawing his gun and ordering the suspect to show his hands and lie down. Instead, Silas moved toward the trooper, yelling obscenities and threatening to kill him and take his police car, O’Leary said. When Silas reached behind his back as if going for a weapon and charged, Carter fired.

No weapon belonging to Silas was found at the scene, said Lt. Mike Loyd of the state police post in Calumet, which led the investigation.

Carter administered first aid until an ambulance arrived, but Silas was pronounced dead on arrival at Baraga County Memorial Hospital.

O’Leary said “any reasonable person” would have felt threatened and been justified in using deadly force under such circumstances. He described Carter as “a true hero.”