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Double stabbing suspect faces multiple felonies

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published July 7, 2020

 Christopher Newberry

Christopher Newberry

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ROYAL OAK — At approximately 11:30 p.m. June 26, multiple 911 calls led to the hospitalization of two stabbing victims and the stabbing suspect, and exposure of police officers to blood, fecal matter, saliva and toilet water.

On June 29, 44th District Court Judge Derek Meinecke charged Brandon Christopher Newberry, 22, of Royal Oak, with two counts of false exposure to a harmful substance, two counts of felonious assault with a dangerous weapon, and one count of assaulting/resisting/obstructing police.

All of the charges are felonies punishable by prison sentences of up to five, four and two years, respectively. Meinecke set Newberry’s bond at $50,000 — no 10%. Newberry’s probable cause conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. July 10. He did not have an attorney on record at press time.

Sgt. Rich Millard, of the Royal Oak Police Department, said several residents of Rochester House Apartments, located on Rochester Road between 12 Mile and 13 Mile roads, reported an assault in progress the night of the incident.

Neighbors stated they could hear a woman screaming, and a man also placed a 911 call to report that he had been stabbed in the forearm and a woman had been stabbed in the hand, police said.

Millard said at least eight officers responded to the scene and learned, upon arrival, that the suspect had barricaded himself inside his apartment.

He said the Royal Oak Fire Department treated the two stabbing victims at the scene, including using a tourniquet to reduce the man’s bleeding, and transported them to the hospital, where they were treated and released.

The woman reportedly told police that she had driven from Flint to hang out with her friend, Newberry, for the week. They met another friend at a bar and invited him back to Newberry’s apartment.

“There was some tension that developed on the way home from the bar,” Millard said. “(Newberry) became aggravated. After they came back from the bar, she was getting her stuff to leave and it escalated from there.”

He said Newberry attacked the woman and man with a knife. The fight allegedly continued outside the apartment, then returned to the apartment, and the stabbing victims reported that Newberry had barricaded himself in his apartment. Neighbors at the scene also reported observing Newberry flee to his apartment with a knife, police said.

Millard said officers knocked and banged on Newberry’s door, ordered him out of the apartment, and received no response before they forced entry into the apartment and located Newberry in the shower.

“He was kicking at officers, spitting at them, and he was verbally abusive beyond what you can imagine. He was abusive and antagonistic,” Millard said. “We suspect alcohol is a factor.”

During his arrest, Newberry intentionally defecated on officers and, after being handcuffed, he attempted to launch himself off the balcony, tried to intentionally fall down the stairs, and spat at and kicked officers as they attempted to escort him to a patrol car, police said.

Millard said Newberry continued to intentionally spit and cough on officers after he was transported to the Police Department, claiming he was trying to infect them with HIV and COVID-19, and he coughed on an officer before the officer could place a spit mask on him in a Police Department elevator.

Police said Newberry intentionally kicked over buckets of collected water from a leak in the roof in the hallway of the cell block area, and after being placed in a cell, he removed the spit mask and attempted to choke himself with it.

When officers approached the cell, Newberry dunked his mask into toilet water and threw it at them, hitting one officer in the face, before trying to drown himself in the toilet, police said.

Newberry was then transported to Beaumont Hospital for treatment, and the officers involved were also treated at the hospital for their exposure. Millard said the false exposure to a harmful substance charges reflect that Newberry did not have COVID-19 or HIV.

Millard added that the department’s new body cameras, which have been in use for a couple of months, were helpful for investigators reviewing the case.

“It’s like you’re there,” Millard said.

The Royal Oak City Commission unanimously approved Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue’s request to enter into a five-year, $1 million contract with Axon, formerly Taser International, to purchase new equipment and software in November. The package includes body cameras, in-car cameras, next-generation Tasers, interview-recording equipment, and a cloud-based digital evidence storage and management system.

“To say the officers involved in this incident showed tremendous restraint would be an understatement. I am very proud of them and how they conducted themselves,” O’Donohue said in a prepared statement.

According to police, Newberry’s criminal history includes convictions for assault and battery, malicious destruction of property, disturbing the peace, and driving while license suspended.

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