Police take barricaded gunman into custody on Detroit's east side after shot fired at officers

Posted at 5:05 AM, Feb 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-20 12:22:18-05

A Detroit man remains in the hospital after an eight-hour stand-off that had several streets closed on Detroit's east side.

Police say the man suffers from a mental disorder and is now facing charges after firing a weapon.

Neighbors say 39-year-old Christopher Spears gave himself up peacefully to police from his home in the 6000 block of Kensington Ave. near Harper.

"When he came out, I don't know if he was overexerted from the gas, he fell flat on his face,” said Tam Nichols.
Police say it began when a neighbor called for help around 11 p.m. Sunday saying Spears confronted him with a gun, acting bizarre.

We’re told Spears was trying to get a Rolex watch back that he gave the neighbor for helping to find his dog that got loose.

When police arrived, they say he was acting erratic, breaking windows in his home, and pointing a weapon at officers. 

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said, “There was a shot fired at some point during the stand off with Special Response Team."

Family tells us he has a documented mental disorder and was set off by the anniversary of his mother's death.

"A lot of people don't know how to handle mourning and death and it seems like every time someone dies in our family that's when the mental issue rises,” said Gloria Spears, the suspect’s aunt.

Police used negotiators and tear gas to get Spears out of his home, but Chief Craig says that didn't work.

"The suspect was acting in a very bizarre manor, began to pelt the armored vehicle with a myriad of object, pots and pans, bricks, you name it."

Police say Spears has a criminal history and kept several guns in the home that he is not allowed to have by law because of his mental illness.

"He wasn't just out here to harm and rob or steal and kill anyone. If anything they were for protection, for his family that he loved,” said Gloria Spears.

We're told he gave himself up out of pure exhaustion, having not slept since Thursday.

Family tell us they fear another stint behind bars will continue to put off the help they've been seeking.

Both his family and police tell us this is more than just about one man suffering with mental illness. They say they hope that something more is done statewide to help people with mental disorders.