Royal Oak officer fatally shoots stabbing suspect

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published May 14, 2018



ROYAL OAK — A Royal Oak police officer who has been with the department for four to six years is on paid administrative leave, per protocol, after fatally shooting a 20-year-old Royal Oak resident identified as Cody Reynolds.

According to police, at approximately 3:11 a.m. Monday, May 14, Reynolds’ mother called 911 to report that her son had stabbed her and hit his father in the head with a guitar at the family’s residence in the 1000 block of Hoffman Avenue, near East Lincoln Avenue and South Campbell Road.

Minutes after the call, a responding officer encountered Cody Reynolds walking down the street toward the officer on Hudson Avenue between McClean and South Wilson avenues, approximately two blocks from the residence. Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue said that the officer, who was alone, stopped the police car and exited.

“Cody was walking slowly toward him,” O’Donohue said.

O’Donohue said that the officer asked Reynolds if he was the one who had stabbed his mom, and Reynolds said, “Yeah, I stabbed my mom.”

Once Reynolds closed the distance between himself and the officer, O’Donohue said, Reynolds “very abruptly” went to the ground.

“He initially wasn’t complying,” O’Donohue said. “Then, when he got to the ground, he very aggressively charged at the officer.”

O’Donohue said that the officer backed up as Reynolds advanced, and, when C & G Newspapers asked how many shots the officer had fired, O’Donohue said police had found four bullet casings at the scene.

“Officers administered first aid to him and called the Royal Oak Fire Department to respond,” he said. “Eventually, they took him to Beaumont, where he was pronounced dead.”

O’Donohue said that the officer’s in-car camera recorded the majority of the incident, including when Reynolds went to the ground, but not the shooting, because the officer backed up and out of range. He added that police would release the in-car video later May 14.

While Royal Oak police do not wear body cameras, he said they do wear transmitters that collect audio.

O’Donohue said both of Reynolds’ parents were transported to Beaumont, Royal Oak, for non-life-threatening injuries.

He said Reynolds struck his mother in the upper chest with a knife, and O’Donohue believed that the knife struck her bone and Reynolds had wielded it with enough force to break the knife.

“The wound itself is not very serious,” he said. “The parents are obviously devastated and it’s just a horrible situation to be involved in, in all aspects.”

During a May 14 press conference, O’Donohue said the incident began when Reynolds returned from hanging out with friends.

“We’re speculating that he was on something,” O’Donohue said. “He was playing guitar very loud, causing a disruption, and was very out of sorts, out of character.”

While O’Donohue said that he did not immediately know if police had been called to the residence in question before, he said that police arrested Reynolds in 2017 for operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious injury — a felony.

“He was driving the wrong way on Woodward and was in an accident and seriously injured another driver,” O’Donohue said. “In that case, he’s currently on probation.”

During the press conference, O’Donohue said that police had discovered drug paraphernalia in Reynolds’ car in the 2017 offense.

As far as the involved officer’s behavior, O’Donohue said that the situation “unfolded very quickly,” that the individual in question had assaulted both his mother and father, and that there was “no way the officer could have known whether he was armed or not.”

Reynolds was not armed.

“If this individual simply complied with the officer’s orders, he would be taken into custody without incident, but that’s not what happened, so we’ll have an investigation to look into exactly how everything else (happened),” O’Donohue said.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office’s Special Investigation Unit will conduct the investigation.

“We do want to express our deepest condolences to the family,” O’Donohue said. “As a parent, I can’t imagine what they’re going through. The entire incident is just very unfortunate. We’ll go through it, have the investigation, and once the investigation is complete, we’ll be releasing the investigation.”

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating a separate officer-involved shooting that occurred in Royal Oak April 10 in a White Castle drive-thru. The officer, who has been with the Police Department for just over 10 years, remains on paid administrative leave, O’Donohue said.

In that incident, police said the officer attempted to make a traffic stop of a BMW at approximately 6:11 p.m. near 13 Mile Road and Coolidge Highway, but the BMW fled through the nearby White Castle parking lot and the officer lost contact with it.

Approximately 15 minutes later, the officer observed the same vehicle in the White Castle drive-thru, and “when the officer went to engage him in that incident, that’s where the shooting occurred,” police said.

In a prior interview, O’Donohue said that the BMW struck a minivan in the drive-thru behind him, as well as the officer’s vehicle. In a May 14 phone interview, he said that the shooting was not caught on camera due to the position of the officer’s vehicle in the drive-thru.

The driver of the BMW, 28-year-old Antonino Thomas Gordon, of Commerce Township, exited the parking lot after being shot, traveled eastbound on 13 Mile Road, crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a minivan near Shenandoah Drive.

First responders transported him to Beaumont, Royal Oak, where he was pronounced dead.

“Royal Oak is a very, very safe community with an excellent Police Department staffed with men and women who are very serious and confident in their job,” O’Donohue said during the press conference. “This is the ugly reality of police work.”

Anyone with information should contact the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office at (248) 858-5000, or Lt. Keith Spencer, of the Royal Oak Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division, at (248) 246-3456.