Suspect identified in drive-by shooting

Investigation continues as more witnesses come forth

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published November 14, 2012

HAZEL PARK — A suspect in the drive-by shooting incident that sent Hazel Park High School into lockdown late October has been identified and charged in the crime.

Steven C. Houston, a 23-year-old Southfield man, was arraigned before Magistrate James Paterson in Hazel Park 43rd District Court Oct. 31.

He is charged with one count of carrying a concealed weapon, a five-year felony; two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, a four-year felony; and one count of possessing a firearm in the commission of a felony, a two-year felony.

Houston is being held on a $2 million bond.  

“He (Houston) was found through investigations by patrol officers and detectives, putting together information we had as far as nicknames, and by looking at video surveillance at the nearby gas station,” said Hazel Park Police Lt. Brian Buchholz.

The incident occurred around 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, after an argument between two groups described as a mix of teens and young adults, most of them male.

The exchange occurred near a gas station by Nine Mile and Hoover, a quarter-mile from Hazel Park High at 23400 Hughes.

“There was a verbal altercation that occurred upon meeting near the gas station, and a physical altercation, as well,” Buchholz said.

One of the groups walked away and was heading north on Hughes when the other group — two or three men in their early 20s — drove by, also heading north. Two rounds were fired from the vehicle, near the baseball diamond just north of the high school.

It is now believed Houston was the individual who fired the gun.

“We have witnesses saying that it was a black male that did it, and based on speaking with different witnesses and the information we had of who was in the vehicle, it was determined he was definitely the one who shot at them,” Buchholz said.

Police would not specify what kind of vehicle the suspects were driving and said that the group fired on scattered and have been difficult to track down — there could’ve been anywhere between seven and 15 people in the group that was fired upon. A minority of them were students from the high school.

“It’s possible we’re still going to find more witnesses,” Buchholz said after Houston’s arraignment.

Police responded quickly to the incident, on tips from two people: a witness in the car behind the suspect vehicle when they fired the gun, and a neighbor on the street who was outside at the time and either saw or heard the incident.

A K-9 sweep was conducted, and metal detectors were used to try to find shell casings among the debris in the street. Police concluded the shooting was not school-related, but Hazel Park High didn’t take any chances, going into a “light lockdown” the following week, in which staff monitored the exterior doors, and classroom doors were locked during class.

The morning of the shooting, there had been a rumor making the rounds of a threatening post on Facebook aimed at Hazel Park High. In reality, it was aimed at another area high school in Center Line; the police there arrested the person who posted the threat and are investigating the incident.

In Hazel Park, police increased their presence around the school. Officials were baffled by what they saw as a senseless act of violence.

“It was in retaliation for the altercation that occurred near the gas station,” Buchholz said. “A lot of it doesn’t make sense, like why it was taken to that extreme.”

At press time, Houston was to appear in Hazel Park 43rd District Court for a preliminary examination at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Anyone with information on these or other incidents can contact Hazel Park detectives at (248) 547-3033.