Family says barricaded gunman in Detroit had been terrorizing them for over a year

Posted at 7:10 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 20:23:58-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A Detroit man's three-day standoff with police has sparked another investigation into a claim by some neighbors that they've been living in fear for over a year without any help from police until now.

"He was just shooting at our house and the house next door and he shot at the neighbor's car going down the street and they finally did something," said the woman who asked that her name not be used. "It's been over a year. We've been calling the police everyday. He's been shooting (and) almost killed my son shooting out his window and (they've) done nothing. Never sent a detective."

The neighbors say they've told police the man has mental health problems and guns.

"He's shooting every night and they wouldn't do anything for a year," a neighbor said. "A year we've been going through this."

The woman tells 7 Action News that on Nov. 8, the suspect shot out through her 14-year-old son's window. The bullet went through the glass, a mirror and it was stopped by the television her son was watching at the time in his bedroom.

She says the responding officers told her family not to touch anything until a detective could meet with them. She says they waited and she repeatedly called police to find out when they were going to send a detective. One was never assigned.

Instead, the family received a letter from the Detroit Police Department about a week later that stated they are "firmly committed to providing professional service to the Detroit community and all citizens in general."

But the letter went on to say that the department uses a "solvability matrix" to determine the "assignment and prioritizing of cases." The letter from the 9th Precinct continued, "based upon the information you provided during the reporting process your report was not assigned to a detective."

In 2017, the family says the man kicked in their basement window and ran through their house naked. They say he appeared to be delusional. They say on other occasions, he's stolen their mail and packages and terrorized their children by beating on the doors and windows to their home.

7 Action News contacted Detroit police regarding the handling of prior incidents. The chief said he will investigate and, if true, he will hold people in his department accountable.

Police have acknowledged a prior encounter they had with the man in 2017 but it's unclear how that case was resolved.

Early Tuesday morning, there was trouble again. Detroit police responded to the suspect's house after neighbors reported that he was shooting at their home. Police officials say their officers responded but left after they could not locate the suspect.

The suspect returned around 9:30 a.m. and began shooting at the neighbor's house again. Police responded and made contact with the suspect who refused to exit his home.

Police say the man threatened to kill the first person who came inside.

During the three-day standoff, police say the suspect, who has been described as a survivalist who also claimed to work as a bounty hunter, refused to surrender despite the numerous chemical agents that were launched into the home on Pelkey Street near Seven Mile Road on Detroit's east side.

Gas and electricity to the home were cut and water was poured in and still the man refused to surrender.

The front of the house was also destroyed in hopes of getting the man to surrender and he continued to refuse to exit.

Tuesday afternoon, DPD's Special Response Team made entry into what was left of the house and found the man on the second floor and under some covers. He appeared to be suffering from hypothermia and he reportedly thanked officers for coming to get him.

The man was taken into custody and is expected to face a long list of criminal charges.