Family and friends mourn death of Xavier West as police prepare report for prosecutor

People rallied outside the Cricket Club Monday to protest the death of Xavier West.

Holding candles and balloons and shouting “Justice,” friends and family of a Battle Creek man shot to death last week rallied outside a downtown Battle Creek bar on Monday.

“All we want is justice for our homie,” said one of the speakers, Jeffrey Cotton. “We know he was a good person.”

Cotton was speaking about Xavier West, 29, of Battle Creek. He was shot inside the Cricket Club at 36 W. Michigan Ave. about midnight on Thanksgiving morning and was pronounced dead a short time later at Bronson Battle Creek.

A group of about 100 people said Monday they wanted police to arrest the 34-year-old security guard who shot West.

They gathered outside the back of the bar and later moved to the front of the building, where they left candles and balloons before the hour-long vigil ended in a snowfall.

“I would like to see justice,” West's mother, Nakeisha West, said. “I want what he deserved and I want this racist stuff to end. It would not have happened if he was a different race.”

Nakiesha West (center) holds a sign Monday calling for justice for her son who was shot and killed Thanksgiving morning at the Cricket Club in Battle Creek.

Battle Creek Police said West was not carrying a firearm.

West was Black and the guard, employed by the bar, is white. The guard's name has not been released by Battle Creek police.

Officers were called to the bar at 12:05 a.m. and said they found West wounded with two shots to his chest.

Detective Sgt. Chris Rabbitt has said investigators determined that a fight began among customers in the second floor of the crowded bar and security guards were attempting to escort some of the people outside.

Near the bottom of the stairs, police said several people began to attack the security guard and he was knocked to the ground, punched and kicked, before firing the two shots that killed West.

“People were throwing bottles and a security detail was trying to take care of it and escort one group out and it escalated,” Rabbitt said last week.

Police have collected some video of the shooting but Rabbitt said Tuesday investigators are still seeking any video or witness statements from people in the bar.

“There has been a lot of chatter from people who said they saw it but we are not getting many calls,” he said. “We would like to have people call us.”

Police said they expect in a day or two to send a completed report to Prosecutor David Gilbert to determine if any charges will be filed.

The security guard was taken to the police station after the shooting and has acknowledged he fired the shots but declined to speak further with detectives. He was expected to appear Monday for an interview but again declined.

Joel Fulton, owner of the Cricket Club has declined to comment on the shooting.

At the vigil, people called for the arrest of the security guard and insisted that others would already be in custody.

They also asked why the guard did not use non-lethal force or even fire a warning shot.

Nakiesha West said if her son was not Black, the results might have been different.

“It would not have happened if he was a different race,” she said. “They would have kicked them out of the bar or used a Taser or taken them to jail. Why did you have to use a force like that with a gun?”

West said she isn't sure what happened inside the bar.

“I just hear things. A fight broke out and my son, I guess, was fighting, and they all were fighting and the guy shot him twice and he fell back.”

Xavier West was the father of one daughter.

West said her son was well known in the community. “He was very kind and very helpful and had just started a new job making solar panels,” she said.

“He is just a well-respected young man. He had little flaws but never did anything wrong to nobody. He was just a loving young man. Even if he was sad you could never tell. He had this big smile on his face and always gave you a hug and a kiss.

“He was a great young guy, my son, and I am going to miss him.”

Funeral arrangements for Xavier West are pending at the Baxter Funeral and Cremation Service at 375 W. Dickman Road.

Contact Trace Christenson at 269-966-0685 or

This article originally appeared on Battle Creek Enquirer: Family, friends mourn death of Xavier West, push for arrest

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