Police find shooting suspect in Texas

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published December 18, 2015




Two weeks after Ferndale police responded to a report of an armed robbery on the east side of town that resulted in a man being shot in the face, police had a suspect in custody in connection with the incident.

Ferndale Police Lt. William Wilson said that by working with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshal’s Office, Ferndale police were able to determine that Somate Russell, 21, of Detroit, allegedly was involved in the crime.

Wilson said police obtained a four-count arrest warrant for Russell on charges of armed robbery, attempted murder and two firearms offenses.

Russell was arrested Dec. 17 in Houston, where U.S. Marshals tracked him down, Wilson said. Two guns were recovered during the arrest in Texas, but Wilson said the investigation had not yet determined if one or both guns were used in the Ferndale crimes.

“Right now, the details of how we found out (Russell) was involved, we are still investigating, so we can’t give those details,” Wilson said. “We assume he got word we were after him and took off to Texas.”

At about 8:10 p.m. Dec. 3, Ferndale police responded to a report of an alleged armed robbery near East Hazelhurst and Wanda streets, which is south of Nine Mile Road and east of the railroad tracks. A 20-year-old man was shot in the face twice during the incident, police said, which occurred while he was in a car with his girlfriend.

The girlfriend, 20, told police at the time of the report that she thought the two suspects with handguns were going to rob her when one of the suspects shot her boyfriend. Wilson said during the course of the investigation, police determined the incident wasn’t random and the victim and his girlfriend were in the process of selling cellphones to the suspects.

“The deal was that the woman had some cellphones to sell and they made arrangements to meet with people, who ended up being the robbers, to sell the phones,” Wilson said. “It turned into a bad deal after they made the arrangements.”

Wilson said the victim who was shot in the face has gone through several operations and is expected to survive, but he is still in “bad shape.”

While Russell has been arrested, Wilson said police are still investigating and looking for two other suspects. One suspect, police said, was allegedly with Russell during the shooting; that suspect was described only as being a black man in his 20s, while the other unknown suspect drove the getaway vehicle.

Police hope to have Russell back in Michigan and in police custody before Christmas.

If someone is looking to sell something to a stranger, Wilson said, they should use caution in where they meet and look for a public place, such as the safe space created in the Ferndale Police Department parking lot this summer.

“Typically, you want to meet them in a public spot with witnesses around, and the most recommended place would be a local police department,” he said. “If they are not willing to meet you there, that probably means you should not meet them anyway.”

Anybody with information on the other two suspects should call Ferndale police at (248) 541-3650, or Crime Stoppers at (800) SPEAK-UP for a potential reward.