Tense encounter between teen with BB gun, police at Madison Heights Target ends peacefully

Posted at 5:19 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 10:45:53-04

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — A very close call that could've ended tragically after police in Oakland County respond to an emergency call of a gunman inside a Target store.

The young suspect was taken into custody without violence.

Witnesses describe a tense encounter in Madison Heights when a teenager armed with what looked like a real handgun came face to face with police.

Caught on body-camera video, Madison Heights police order a 15-year-old boy armed with a BB gun pistol to give up. The scene at Target at 13 1/2 Mile Road and John R. played out after a call to 911. Witness Pat Hayes recalls the panic.

“It was very nerve-racking," Hayes said. "At the end of the day, the kid is lucky to be alive.”

The teen, whom we're not identifying because he's a juvenile, allegedly was first spotted out front of the busy store on May 6, then detectives say he went in and ordered a worker to let him out a back door.

Police say that in seconds it took for it all to play out, the adrenaline was high and the fear was real.

“The suspect ran into an employee in the rear. He pointed the gun at her and made her let him out,” said Lt. Michael Siladke with Hazel Park police.

Officer-involved shootings have drawn intense scrutiny around the country, but in this case no shots were fired and no one was hurt as the teen surrendered.

7 Action News learned the weapon did closely resemble an actual gun. the teen is now charged with felonious assault and obstructing justice. The boy's mother declined to comment. In Oakland County, a youth assistance program that offers counseling and mentoring will now also be involved in the case.

“The earlier we can get to kids, and their families and help we can break patterns of past behaviors,” said Mary Schusterbauer with Oakland County Youth Assistance.