ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. (WXYZ) — Only on 7, we're digging deeper into the life of the man who was the center of the Fourth of July shooting and standoff with police in St. Clair Shores.
Tom Ihlenfeldt had several incidents with police, dating back to 2006 and a rape case of a young girl. Ihlenfeldt went to trial and the jury was deadlocked. According to the Macomb County Prosecutor and court documents, the case was resolved in a plea to lesser charges that included aggravated indecent exposure, which is a felony.
In the incident that occurred July 4, 2019, Ihlenfeldt shot two neighbors across the street using fireworks, and during the standoff killed his girlfriend inside the house with him, and later turning the gun on himself.
In 2014, police had another incident with Ihlenfeldt. It was involving a report of loud music.
When police arrived, Ihlenfeldt came out of his house carrying a shotgun. One officer drew his pistol and ordered Ihlenfeldt to drop the shotgun. Instead, Ihlenfeldt went back into his house and did not answer the door. Nothing further was done.
In 2017, Ihlenfeldt was upset with a family in his neighborhood.
Channita Jackson and her family were having a party in their back yard across the street. Ihlenfeldt went inside their house without permission to ask questions. When police arrived he was back inside his house and did not answer the door. Police said in the incident report they knocked for ten minutes.
Was the Fourth of July incident preventable?
Janice Jackson was shot in the ankle. She still has bullet fragments in her and says today, "I thank God I wasn't dead."
Channita says police should have done more when Ihlenfeldt entered their home in 2017 because kids were around and they knew his criminal history with a child.
"St. Clair Shores Police, they failed," she said. "All of this could have been prevented."
It is a crime for a felon to be in possession of guns.
St. Clair Shores police declined an interview for this report, but say the information in the Law Enforcement Information Network does not include Ihlenfeldt pleading guilty to the felony aggravated indecent exposure. And if it had, they would have responded differently.