Warren police at the scene of a shooting near 12 Mile and Schoenherr roads on Feb. 24.

Warren police at the scene of a shooting near 12 Mile and Schoenherr roads on Feb. 24.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Dwyer: ‘No. 1 priority’ should be on mental health amid violence

Shooting suspect reportedly had documented history of mental illness

By: Gena Johnson | Warren Weekly | Published March 3, 2023


WARREN — A 53-year-old father managed to call 911 after being shot in the face by his 24-year-old son on Feb. 24.

Warren police and firefighters were dispatched to a home in the 29000 block of Schoenherr Road north of 12 Mile Road around 9:15 a.m. First responders pronounced the son dead at the scene.

According to police, a search warrant was executed to secure evidence and no other victims were found. Investigators learned the suspect had documented mental illness.

Police said the father reported he was physically assaulted by the son inside the residence where the son retrieved a weapon and shot him.  The father was able to exit the home and was found bleeding profusely on the front porch, and was then taken to the hospital.

Less than a week later, a 20-year-old male confessed to deliberately setting a house on fire in the 30000 block of Austin Drive.

“A neighbor called to let him know his house was on fire,” said Warren Fire Commissioner Wilburt “Skip” McAdams.  “The 20-year-old said ‘he knew and didn’t have a problem with it.  And had plans to set himself on fire but thought better of it and did not go through with it.’”

According to the Fire Department,  the man was taken to the hospital for evaluation and clearance.  He was covered in gasoline.  The 20-year-old was arrested and remained in police custody.  The fire caused more than $100,000 worth of damage to the home, but there were no injuries.

Experts contend that much of the violence in society is rooted in mental illness.

“At least one-third of the gun violence that we are experiencing today throughout the country is from the people who are mentally ill, who cannot get treatment, or we can’t have them put in an institution where they can get treatment,” said Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer.

“We can put more gun laws on the books, I would support that but quite frankly, we’re not even enforcing the laws that are on the books now,” Dwyer said. “Our No. 1 priority should be to get mental health treatment for these people that are suffering and are committing these vicious, violent homicides.”

Dwyer attributed the root of much of the gun violence to political decisions that were made decades ago.

“The governor of the state, I’m not going to name the governor, closed down all the mental hospitals,” said Dwyer. “Today it is very difficult for people with mental health problems to get treatment. We used to be able to take them to a hospital that treats the mentally ill. That’s not available any longer because of what the politician did at that time. Those that want treatment can wait up to six months for treatment and in some areas people can’t afford the treatment.”