Suspected shooter of 14 year-old girl arrested
Paul Hard is being held on a million dollar cash bond after his arraignment Tuesday.
The massive manhunt ended Monday as the 42 year-old was arrested at around 3:00pm on Chief and Potter Roads in Bear Lake Township.
Authorities say he shot a 14-year old autistic girl multiple times Sunday morning at her home on Erwin Road just southeast of Copemish. The girl suffered life-threatening injuries and was air lifted to a hospital in Grand Rapids. We're told she is expected to fully recover.
Hard went on the run after the shooting which sparked an extensive search that lasted 36 hours, and Monday night he's now in police custody.
Lt. Kip Belcher with the Michigan State Police Cadillac Post says, "It was just a focused, persistent, relentless effort from everyone involved, where he was just running out of space to go to..."
After a day and a half of scouring Manistee County, police were able to narrow their perimeter to a 5 mile radius within Bear Lake and move in on Paul Hard, From there, they used their helicopter and ground units as well as the suspect's cell phone use to track him to a remote location off Chief road, just south of Potter. Hard was in his burgundy Tahoe SUV, hiding behind a pole barn. As police started to move in, Hard panicked and took off through a nearby field. Officers fired several shots at the SUV causing Hard to lose control and crash into an oil well. Hard took off on foot, but officers arrested him no less than ten minutes later.
Police are still trying to figure out why Hard shot the young girl, but say he knew her parents for quite a while. MSP Lt. Belcher says, "It was not a random act that took place, clearly based upon the shots that were fired, it was an intentional act toward this young lady..."
Investigators intercepted several calls and text messages from Hard's cell phone saying he shot the 14-year old girl. Lt. Belcher explains, "He made some admissions as to what he had done in Copemish, and did not strike the individual that received the messages, as being remorseful."
If you have any information as to Paul Hart's whereabouts and activities during the past few days, you're asked to contact the Manistee Sheriff's Department at (231) 723-8393 or the Michigan State Police Cadillac Post at (231) 779-6040.