Police honor Royal Oak man for helping apprehend suspect

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published February 5, 2020

 Jack Huffman, of Royal Oak, and his son, Jimmy, 10, stand outside Royal Oak City Hall after Huffman received an award from the Royal Oak Police Department Jan. 27.

Jack Huffman, of Royal Oak, and his son, Jimmy, 10, stand outside Royal Oak City Hall after Huffman received an award from the Royal Oak Police Department Jan. 27.

Photo provided by Jack Huffman

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ROYAL OAK — On Jan. 27, the Royal Oak Police Department presented a citizen award to Jack Huffman, of Royal Oak, for his part in the arrest of a man who was later charged with third-degree fleeing and eluding.

The incident began at approximately 5:45 a.m. Dec. 14 with what police said was a false report that resulted in a real charge against 24-year-old Gregory Isisah Biggs Jr., of Detroit.

Royal Oak police responded to a complaint that alleged that a woman had been sexually assaulted by armed perpetrators who had filmed the assault at a home being rented for a short-term stay in the 700 block of Gardenia Avenue.

Upon arrival, several people locked themselves inside the home and officers observed a man run from the house on foot. Two officers pursued him while other officers stayed at the house and located the alleged victim.

“The pursuing officer knocked him down and out of his shoes, but ultimately he was able to elude officers in the wooded area of (Oakview Cemetery),” Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue said. “A perimeter was set up, and officers observed a suspicious vehicle slowly driving in the area.”

He said officers attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle, believing the occupants of the vehicle might be associated with the suspect who fled, but it fled westbound on Gardenia and into Oakview Cemetery. The driver exited and fled on foot, while police detained the passenger.

“In the middle of all of this, Jack Huffman was walking when he saw the activity and the fleeing suspect and actually tripped the suspect as he ran by him,” O’Donohue said. “He flagged down responding officers, and we were able to arrest the subject. He did all of this while recording himself on Facebook Live.”

Eventually, O’Donohue said, officers were able to gain entry to the house and learned that no assault had taken place. They did arrest a 22-year-old woman from Harper Woods at the home for giving a false name to officers, police said.

The next day, a resident in the 800 block of Gardenia discovered an unregistered handgun on his front lawn, which police processed for potential evidence in connection with the incident. O’Donohue said the incident is still under investigation.

“As a result of Mr. Huffman’s keen observations and willingness to get involved, this subject was taken into custody,” he said.

Huffman said he was out for a morning walk along Gardenia, outside of the cemetery, when he noticed an unusual presence of police cars from multiple jurisdictions driving slowly through the neighborhood.

“All of a sudden, I heard tires squealing and the lead car came out. I didn’t realize at first that they just dumped the car in the cemetery,” he said. “Within 60 seconds, I heard the chain fence rattling and I knew somebody was coming my way. The guy came running out, and I just sideswiped him.”

He said the suspect fell down, popped up immediately and then Huffman followed him from there and told the officers where he was going.

“I just happened to be there,” Huffman said.

Huffman is no stranger to walking or martial arts, both of which benefited him in the situation.

In 2018, Huffman walked 2,841 miles in 79 days, completing a coast-to-coast journey from Newport Beach, California, to Tybee Island, Georgia. He said he was inspired after changing his life and losing 50 pounds in 2017. This year, he is training to walk 275 miles in 100 hours across Michigan, from South Haven to Port Huron, beginning May 18.

“Incredible thinking,” Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier told Huffman at the meeting. “Way to be aware, and we’re very grateful for your actions.”

On Dec. 16, 44th District Court Magistrate Donald Chisholm arraigned Biggs on one count of third-degree fleeing and eluding, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, and one count of driving while license suspended, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail.

According to police, Biggs’ criminal history includes convictions for disturbing the peace, felony weapons offense/burglary, and traffic offenses.

Chisholm set Biggs’ bond at $25,000 cash or surety, no 10%. He was bound over to Oakland County Circuit Court as charged, and his next court date is Feb. 20.

Ellen Michaels, Biggs’ defense attorney, did not return a request for comment by press time.

Police ask that anyone with information regarding the incident contact the Royal Oak Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at (248) 246-3456.

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