Police discuss Farmington shooting

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published September 28, 2018

 Concerned citizens listen at a meeting police held at Longacre Elementary School Sept. 27 to discuss a recent shooting in a Farmington neighborhood.

Concerned citizens listen at a meeting police held at Longacre Elementary School Sept. 27 to discuss a recent shooting in a Farmington neighborhood.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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When Farmington resident Kelsey Mynsberge heard what she thought was a recycling bin rolling down the street Sept. 19, she didn’t think too much about it.

She learned the next day that what she had heard were gunshots.

The gunshots were from a drive-by shooting at around 10:30 p.m. Sept. 19 in the 23500 block of Wesley Street, south of Grand River Avenue, west of Gill Road, according to a police report.

“I actually just got home from a trip to Orlando when I heard the shots,” she said. “I immediately thought it was thunder or someone rolling their recycling bin out … because it was trash night, and my dog was clinging to me; it was a little frightening.”

Mynsberge, who lives near Wesley Street, attended a meeting hosted by the Farmington Public Safety Department Sept. 27 with over 100 other residents, most of whom live nearby.

The over hour-long meeting discussed the situation surrounding the shooting — without going into crucial investigation details — and what residents should know about neighborhood safety.

“We’ve had some terror visit us,” Public Safety Director Frank Demers said.

The Farmington Public Safety Department is investigating the incident, which police state was isolated.

According to a press release, Farmington Public Safety Department officers were dispatched to the area after numerous 911 calls reported gunfire.  

Responding officers arrived within two minutes that day and found numerous spent shell casings on Wesley Street, the release states.  

Evidence collected was sent to the Michigan State Police crime lab for analysis.

Officers determined that no one in the home was injured and that the suspects had left the scene, according to the report. Demers said in the release that the home was targeted, and the shooting was not a random event.

Witnesses noticed as many as three vehicles leaving the scene at a high rate of speed, according to the press release.  

During the meeting, attendees were shown a slide presentation and videos, one of which captured three vehicles that night leaving the area at a high rate of speed. On Gill Road, just north of Freedom, the vehicles headed south.

“We are doing our best to ID those vehicles,” Demers said, adding that one of them is a Dodge Charger. “Which is probably one of the most popular cars in metro Detroit.”

Video surveillance from a doorbell on State Street captured the sounds of gunshots ringing out that night on Wesley.

Farmington Public Safety Cmndr. Justin DuLong, who lives in the area, said he heard the shots that night.

Demers said that when something like this happens, the Public Safety Department reaches out to partnering agencies, like the FBI, the MSP,, the Detroit Police Department and the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office.

Demers added said the family of six who lived there had rented the home; the landlord revoked their lease, and they had to leave by the end of September; the home will be put up for sale. The landlord is helping the family find a place to live, more than likely outside of the city.

“The landlord is very cooperative with us and certainly understands the gravity of the situation and wants to work with everyone. I think it is a pretty good resolution,” he said.

DuLong added that a nonprofit agency is helping the family too.

“They don't live this life — they are as Farmginton as everybody in this room,” DuLong said of speculations about a violent lifestyle.

Demers said that there are ongoing interviews with the family to determine who targeted their home.

“An individual who frequents the residence and we believe to be the intended target is not cooperating with the investigation,” he said.

Demers asked the attendees if they are afraid to go outside as a result of the shooting, and a few hands were raised; about the same number raised their hands when asked if they are afraid to have their children play outside or for anyone to go outside after dark.

“Those feelings, those thoughts, concerns, anxieties, those are completely normal. Completely acceptable,” Demers said, adding he wants to prove to residents that they live in a very safe neighborhood.

“The safest neighborhood in the city based on statistics,” he said.

In the past five years in the area west of Gill Road, between Grand River Avenue and Arundel Street, there have been 27 crime incidents — narcotics possession, larcenies and warrant arrests.

Demers said the one narcotics arrest came from a traffic stop in the neighborhood and one came from a resident calling about a suspicious vehicle; there were 19 larcenies from vehicles — 18 of those vehicles’ doors were unlocked. A political sign was stolen. A package was taken from a front porch.

“When you peel back the layers of the onion, 27 crimes in five years — 18 could have avoided those if their cars were locked, one of them could have been avoided if valuables (were not) left (in the) car,” he said.

Demers said residents can attend Neighborhood Watch meetings at 7 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at Farmington City Hall. They can sign up for Nixle text alerts by texting their ZIP code to 888777. They can conduct a home security survey via the city’s website.

“Look out for one another. Remain vigilant,” he said. “It’s OK to be nosy. Report all suspicious persons, vehicles or situations to the Public Safety Department immediately. You can remain anonymous.”

One attendee said that she has owned a home in the city for just over a year and has learned of two or three gun-related incidents — including a magazine of bullets found in the Farmington High School auditorium June 8 — after the fact, on social media; she asked what the city is going to do to better communicate.

Demers said that the Public Safety Department works “very closely” with Farmington Public Schools and they follow their own protocol for the best way to approach informing the public via social media, Nixle or a press release.

“These are all done on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

Mynsberge said after the meeting that a shooting doesn’t seem like it would ever happen in the neighborhood.

“The (Wesley) house never really stood out at all,” she said. After the shooting she, was not really afraid.

“I knew the neighborhood, knew the Public Safety Department — I’ve never felt scared in this neighborhood; lived here my whole life,” she said.

Anyone with information on the makes and models of the vehicles is asked to call Farmington Public Safety Cmndr. Justin DuLong at (248) 474-5500, ext. 2246.

For more information, go to http://www.ci.farmington.mi.us/.

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