ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, MI — Naomi Brown knew Jon Sper as someone who was “incredibly charismatic and very intelligent.”
She also knew him as someone who battled mental health demons.
“Within an hour’s time, he could go from being caring and calm and conversational to being intense and angry,” she said.
Kent County Probate Court confirmed that Sper has a mental health file and was ordered into treatment in 2014.
Sper, 30, was shot and killed shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24 after he struggled with two Kent County sheriff’s deputies at a home along Summit Court NE. Sper had been in what police described as a “domestic dispute” with his brother at the residence, prompting the police response.
More specific details of what led up to the shooting have not been released. Wyoming Police is handling the investigation.
Brown met Sper last summer at a birthday party and said he was both spontaneous and compassionate.
“I cared about him so much as a friend, from the moment I met him,” she said.
She said as the months passed, Sper became more of a loner and tended to push people away.
“He would go into these darker moods and stay there longer,” she said.
Sper had been evicted from his rental unit in a Grand Rapids house earlier this month, according to his landlord.
The landlord, who also was once a friend of Sper, did not want to be named. He alleged Sper had damaged property in the house.
Sper ended up in the Kent County Jail on Jan. 18 after he walked out of Z’s Bar & Restaurant without paying a tab and then refused to give his name to police.
He was released Jan. 24 — the same day as the shooting — after he pleaded guilty to two citations.
Sper did not have a car and the landlord said he gave him a ride to his brother’s house on Summit Court.
Brown said she doesn’t know what went wrong at the brother’s house. But she suspects Sper’s sometimes unpredictable behavior played a role.
“It’s incredibly tragic that his life was lost,” she said. “He needed help.”