MACOMB COUNTY (WXYZ) — A judge tossed out a case involving a retired crime-fighter who opened fire on his son during a domestic disturbance at his home one year ago. The judge has now cleared the retired detective’s name, ruling he acted in self-defense.
Retired Det. Michael Szymanski says the past year of his life has been painful and traumatic. But now he’s finally able to talk about what happened at his home and the judge’s decision to dismiss the case.
“It’s been a frightening sad experience. It’s been devastating to not only myself, but my wife and my daughter,” Szymanski said.
After retiring from the Hamtramck Police Department, Mike Szymanski says he looked forward to enjoying his next chapter with family and friends. However, he says one year ago everything changed on a night his son, who was under the influence of alcohol, broke into his home two separate times and assaulted him.
He says he defended himself with a handgun, which eventually led to criminal charges filed against him and a lengthy ordeal that lasted a year.
“There was no case to begin with. It was clearly a self-defense incident and the person who should have gotten charged did not,” Szymanski said.
His attorney Todd Flood also says Szymanski's son was at a blood alcohol level of .24.
"He was a mad and vicious drunk,” added Flood, who is a former special prosecutor in the Flint water crisis and represented Szymanski since the start. He tells us the danger he faced was very real.
“His sister and best friend both said he was possessed. He was coming at his father with the intent to kill him and it was a scary situation,” Flood said.
Szymanski adds, “I still don’t know why my son was so angry. I have never seen him like that in the 31 years he’s been alive.”
As a result of the charges, the retired detective has had to step away from a job where he held a top-secret clearance and he’s suffered wage loss. He’s also had to find other work and cope with the loss of a relationship with his son, who recovered from being shot in the stomach at the home, near 22 Mile Road and Hayes.
“Any person wrongfully accused is a victim to the system. My family and I read the good book every day and put everything in God’s hands. Hopefully, moving forward we can all heal.” Szymanski said. He credits his attorney with helping to get the truth out and the judge for his decision at the preliminary exam.
The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office maintains they conducted a fair and thorough investigation into the incident with 30-year-old Steven Szymanski, which was turned over to the prosecutor.
Yet, Flood maintains: “It was self-defense within one’s home. When you’re under attack with great bodily harm or death, you have the right to defend yourself.”
Flood is also grateful to the judge for making the right call in this case and says though Szymanski can’t get the last year of his life back, he can now start to move forward.