Woman uses pistol to ward off attacker, police say

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published December 6, 2017

A woman walking her dog reportedly defended herself with a concealed pistol against an alleged attacker, according to Sterling Heights police.

Police said the woman was walking her dog around the Maple Grove Apartments, near 15 Mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue, between 11 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. Dec. 3.

That’s when a man reportedly climbed out of a black paneled work van to follow her, the police report indicates. When the woman noticed, she reportedly grew “highly suspicious,” but she kept walking after losing sight of the man.

The suspect then allegedly reappeared from behind a trash enclosure and began to approach the woman. He allegedly then tried to grab the back of her winter coat, but failed when his hand slipped.

The woman took out her handgun and put it to the suspect’s belly, prompting the man to run away, police said. According to police, the suspect might have wielded a weapon, such as a knife, in his hand.

According to Sterling Heights Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski, police believe that the suspect was carrying out an assault, though it is not clear what the intended purpose was.

Dwojakowski added that the woman has a concealed pistol license.

“We believe that she was grabbed, attacked/assaulted, and she used the gun in self-defense to defend herself,” the police chief said.

“She saw something silver in his hand that appeared to be a knife. (There were) no words really on his part, just on her part. She said, ‘I don’t want to kill you.’ Something to that effect. After she pulled the gun out, he didn't say anything and fled.”

The suspect is described as a black man in his 30s. He is of medium build and about 5 feet 7 inches tall. He was clean-shaven, and he had a distinguishing feature on his upper lip that is either a scar or cleft palate, police said. At the time of the incident he was reportedly wearing all black clothes, including a hoodie.

According to Dwojakowski, police do not know of any witnesses to the incident, and they are asking the public to come forward with any information on a possible suspect based on the description. 

Anyone who has more information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Sterling Heights Police Department Investigations Bureau at (586) 446-2825.