Murder suspect found dead of self-inflicted gunshot wound at home in Royal Oak

Suspect identified as Thomas Matthews

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) - Police say the man who barricaded himself in a house near the corner of Sprague and Minerva in Royal Oak has been found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The suspect was identified as 33-year-old Thomas Ian Matthews of Franklin.

No shots were ever exchanged between Matthews and police.

Police say Matthews was suspected in the murder of a man in the Village of Franklin. The victim, Harry Berkowitz, was found in a home on Charles Street earlier Tuesday morning. He was a longtime teacher for West Maple Elementary School in Birmingham.

The 7 Action News team has established through public records that Berkowitz and Matthews shared a house at one point.

A police robot was sent in to a Royal Oak home several hours into the standoff and found Matthews laying on a bed. Sources tell 7 Action News that Matthews used a large caliber handgun to shoot himself in the head.

The chief says Matthews did not live in the Royal Oak house and that it belonged to an acquaintance. However, the man's car was found outside. Sources tell 7 Action News that the home belonged to his ex-girlfriend.

About a dozen people near the home were either evacuated or told to stay in their basements during the standoff. 

Members of the Southeast Oakland SWAT were on the scene, wearing body armor and were transported in close to the house in two armored vehicles. The team was a consortium of Royal Oak, Madison Heights, Ferndale and Berkley Police. 

Because of the situation, school children that live in the area were asked not to walk through the neighborhood that is south of Gardenia, east of Campbell, West of I-75 and north of 11 Mile.

Parents were asked to pick up their kids. School officials said they would hold any child who would have had to walk through the restricted area until a parent could pick them up.

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