Man with ‘mental health concerns,’ armed with pellet gun, arrested outside Jewish Federation building

By: Mary Beth Almond | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published November 3, 2023

 Bloomfield Township Police Chief James Gallagher addresses the media during a Nov. 2 press conference.

Bloomfield Township Police Chief James Gallagher addresses the media during a Nov. 2 press conference.

Photo by Mary Beth Almond


BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — A man is in custody after reportedly pointing a pellet gun at a FedEx driver in the parking lot of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit building on Telegraph Road Nov. 2.

Bloomfield Township Police Chief James Gallagher said he’s “confident that there is no threat to the community,” adding that “this was not a targeted attack.”

Nevertheless, he said there was an increased police presence at places of worship and schools for the remainder of the day.

“We are confident that this was not an antisemitic incident and we are confident that the individual we have in custody has mental health concerns. However, this investigation is still very early, and we will present all of our findings to the Prosecutor’s Office when we can,” Gallagher said. “I do want to stress again, this has nothing to do with any of the crises going on in the world today. We are confident in that.”

The identity of the suspect had not been released at press time.

The incident — which occurred around 11:30 a.m. — prompted a brief lockdown of the Max M. Fisher Federation Building, 6735 Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Township.

Nick Soley, the public information officer for the Bloomfield Township Police Department, said security first came into contact with the suspect outside and told him he needed an ID to get inside the building.

When the man walked back to his car to retrieve an ID and returned, he encountered a food delivery person, who saw a gun in his waistband.

“Simultaneously, a FedEx truck driver pulls up with his truck in front of the door. The suspect walks up to the truck driver and tells him he needs to move his truck and get it out of the way. The FedEx driver notices the gun in the waistband, states, ‘OK,’ and begins to move the truck. The suspect, at that point, starts banging on the truck, presenting the gun and pointing it in the direction of the FedEx driver. The FedEx driver does begin to move the truck, and the suspect continues to point the gun at the truck and the driver,” Soley said.

As the truck tried to leave, the suspect ran a short distance to it as it pulled away.

As the man moved away from the front door, other employees approached the building and used their badges to enter it.

“The door closes. The suspect does attempt to open the building by pulling on the handle, but he is unsuccessful and does not get in,” Solely said.

Witnessing the incident, building security activated emergency operations, placing the building into lockdown, and called 911 at 11:33 a.m. to report that a white male with a gun was in the parking lot.

“Security in the Federation (building) has their emergency operations plan. They followed it to a T. They hit their emergency activation alarm and called 911,” Soley explained. “I don’t think the Jewish Federation could have acted any better than they did in this situation. They trained for this, they prepared for this, and they have emergency response drills. This is exactly how they should have responded.”

Soley said the first police units arrived at the scene at 11:36 a.m., and by 11:38 a.m., the first two units reported that the suspect was in custody without incident and that a firearm was recovered.

“Well after the arrest, when police attempted to make the firearm safe, they determined that it was a pellet gun and not an actual firearm,” said Soley.

In a Nov. 2 press conference, Gallagher dispelled some rumors related to the incident that he said were circulating on social media.

“We did not have shots fired from a real firearm during this incident and there were no injuries as a result of anything that occurred there today,” he said.

Solely also confirmed that police believe there is no threat to the community.

“We do not believe this was a targeted attack and we do not believe this is an antisemitic attack on the Jewish Federation, given the information we have at this time,” he said.

The Birmingham Police Department, the Franklin Police Department and the Bloomfield Township Fire Department assisted in the response.

“On behalf of the Federation of Detroit, I want to express my tremendous gratitude to the chief and the Bloomfield Township Police Department for the quick response today. We feel very fortunate for the strong relationships we hold with them, as well as with our many law enforcement partners. I also want to recognize and commend our officers with the Jewish  Community Security Team for their skillful efforts in managing the situation,” Steven Ingber, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, said during the press conference. “We’re very grateful this incident has been safely resolved.”

For more information, contact the Bloomfield Township Police Department at (248) 433-7755.