RosevilleSeptember 17, 2012
Gratiot fast- food restaurants evacuated after bomb threat
By Sara Kandel
C & G Staff Writer
ROSEVILLE — A section of southbound Gratiot and two fast-food restaurants were evacuated after a 28-year-old mentally ill Detroit man threatened employees and customers in Del Taco, claiming he had a bomb.
Employees at the Del Taco at 32439 Gratiot said the man entered the restaurant just before 3 p.m. Sept. 11, ordered at the counter, and then sat down and began eating before growing irate.
Employees told police that the man, who wore all black clothing, appeared odd — his face was painted in a strange black and white color scheme, and his hair was wild and unkempt.
“The man ordered and sat down, but instead of eating his meal, the man began to rant,” said Roseville Police Chief James Berlin. “He was loud. All of the restaurant patrons could hear him.”
Witnesses say the man was shouting about it being a day of redemption — one in which all sinners must pay.
“The subject continued his ranting, scaring the restaurant patrons and staff, saying that it was time for the sinners to be held accountable in the fires of redemption,” Berlin said.
As the man’s rant continued, he grew increasingly agitated and eventually started claiming he had a bomb on him. He repeated the claim multiple times while restaurant employees called the police and evacuated the building.
Responding officers were able to make it to the scene in minutes and immediately apprehend the suspect without incident. The suspect repeated his claim while in custody — pointing to his black backpack still sitting inside the restaurant.
Unsure of the validity of the statement, the Roseville Police Department requested backup from the Michigan State Police Bomb Squad.
“In order to ensure the safety of all, in case the backpack did contain an explosive device and it somehow detonated, the area was evacuated,” Berlin said, explaining that southbound Gratiot was closed at 14 Mile, and the Burger King, located next door, was evacuated.
Upon their arriva, the bomb squad utilized a portable X-ray device to survey the inside of the building. In doing so, they determined the backpack did not contain any explosives. As a precaution, a bomb squad K-9 was brought in to check the building and its perimeter. No explosives were found, and the area was reopened to the public.
Police have not released the man’s name and said it was unclear whether he will face any charges relating to this incident.
“He’s currently under a doctor’s care for a host of psychological disorders,” Berlin said, adding that the man will receive a complete psychological evaluation at a local hospital in the near future.
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