July 4 panic caused by antique military vehicle

By: Kristyne E. Demske, | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 5, 2013

Calls came pouring into the Shelby Township Police Department late July 4 describing a man with an automatic weapon walking or driving down a crowded street and firing at people in the area of Erma Drive.

With so many reports coming in — and because of the nature of the incident — Shelby Township police asked for help from the Sterling Heights and Utica police departments, which both sent units to help.

When police arrived on the scene, south of Auburn Road, between Dequindre and Ryan roads, after 11 p.m., they discovered that no one had been hurt. According to a report from Shelby Township police, officers quickly located the vehicle and stopped three men involved in the incident.

 The antique military vehicle sits in a garage at the Shelby Township Police Department July 5.

The antique military vehicle sits in a garage at the Shelby Township Police Department July 5.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Officers found the men driving an antique, World War II-era, armor-plated military vehicle with a mounted replica .50-caliber heavy machine gun. It had been modified to fire compressed gas, which emitted a bright flash and realistic gunfire sounds.

One person was arrested at the scene and charges are pending, but the department is not releasing any other information at this time.

“After last night’s incident, I wonder if we need access to the U.S. National Guard, in addition to assistance from multiple neighboring police departments, to regulate the state’s fireworks laws. Unbelievable,” Shelby Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis said in a statement.