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What we've learned about the Rochester Hills splash pad shooter and his motives

Posted at 6:18 PM, Jun 17, 2024

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — As our community tries to understand why this happened, questions are now being raised about the shooter. Who was he? And why would he do this? At this point, there are still more questions than answers.

RELATED STORY: 2 victims still in critical, at least a dozen weapons recovered after Rochester Hills splash pad shooting

2 victims still in critical, at least a dozen weapons recovered after Rochester Hills splash pad shooting

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard says tonight they still don’t have a motive as to why this man opened fire at the Rochester Hills Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad. But he said family members did indicate the shooter had been growing increasingly paranoid.

RELATED VIDEO: Oakland County sheriff provides update on Rochester Hills splash pad shooting victims, investigation

Oakland County sheriff provides update on Rochester Hills splash pad shooting victims, investigation

Meanwhile, neighbors in the Dequindre Estates mobile home park say they never would have predicted that Michael William Nash would fire 36 shots into the crowded splash pad, hitting 9 people Saturday.

“It makes you kind of wonder what people do behind closed doors. You just never know,” said Kyleen Duchene McDougal.

McDougal lives next door to Nash and his mother in Shelby Township. She says she’s known the 42-year-old since he was just 21.

“He just lived there with his family the whole time. We've never seen anything odd with him,” said McDougal.

Sheriff Bouchard says his deputies were in touch with the shooter’s mother Saturday who told them about her son’s recent increased paranoia.

“It appears he’d been musing about different things, saying shut your phone off, we’re being watching. They are listening to us. Walking around the house with weapons, talking about them listening to him and talking about how the government was tracking him,” said Bouchard. “At this point, we still have no information that that was brought to anyone’s attention.”

Bouchard says they recovered one gun at the splash pad and 11 weapons including an AR-style rifle inside the shooter’s home. Bouchard says the shooter killed himself while deputies surrounded the house.

“We have no information on any contacts that he had with law enforcement, no arrests, no criminal history,” said Bouchard.

The 7 Investigators reviewed court records and only found some past financial issues, including a 2011 bankruptcy. Attorney Kelli Meeks remembers Nash as a 29-year-old who lost his landscaping company after the 2009 economic crash.

“He lost the majority of his client base. So, he had to let his employees go, his equipment was repossessed, and he was responsible for the balance owed on those loans after it was sold for pennies on the dollar,” said Meeks. “He saw himself more as a just down-on-his-luck young man and felt like he would be able to rebound from this. He was not angry or combative of the circumstances.”

Meeks says she was stunned to learn the young man she met 13 years ago was responsible for Saturday’s splash pad tragedy.

“I was absolutely flabbergasted, knocked sideways. I was shocked that it was the same soft-spoken, pleasant young man that I had met with back in 2011 and represented,” said Meeks. “My heart just goes out to all of these folks that were injured and the families and everybody impacted by another horrible gun tragedy.”

Sheriff Bouchard says the shooter’s mother was out of town at the time of this tragedy and he says she has since hired a lawyer.

Bouchard also says they have seized phones and computers from the shooter's home, and they are examining those to try to determine why this happened.

If you have a story for Heather Catallo, please email her at hcatallo@wxyz.com