Fundraising efforts are underway after a young father was murdered while protecting his family during a home invasion in Kalamazoo County.

On Sunday December 1, 22-year-old Christopher Neal was murdered after a Battle Creek man broke into Neal's home, located in Comstock Township, and held the family hostage. The new father had his wife, Haley, hide upstairs with the couples 2-year-old daughter. Haley was able to contact 911 while hiding.

At approximately 10:00 p.m., officers from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, along with the Michigan State Police, responded to the 6300 block of Proctor Avenue, in Comstock Township, to assist the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office. After hearing gunfire inside the house, officers entered the home in order to rescue the hostages.

Three law enforcement officers were shot as they rushed into the family's home, one from each department present. None of their injuries were fatal, however Christopher died from his injuries.

Christopher was a Texas native who had moved to the area with his family just weeks before. The young couple was just about to announce the news that they were expecting their second child when the unimaginable happened.

The suspect has been identified as William Paul Jones, 35, of Battle Creek. Police say he had just been released from the Calhoun County jail on November 26 and that he has a long criminal history. Jones was was arraigned on December 3 on one charge of open murder, one charge of home invasion resulting in murder, three counts of assault with intent to commit murder on a police officer as well as 14 other felony charges.

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