Royal Oak officer involved in fatal shooting at White Castle

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published April 11, 2018 | Updated April 11, 2018 2:02pm

 An on-duty Royal Oak police officer fatally shot a man at the White Castle drive-thru, located near 13 Mile Road and Coolidge Highway, April 10.

An on-duty Royal Oak police officer fatally shot a man at the White Castle drive-thru, located near 13 Mile Road and Coolidge Highway, April 10.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik

ROYAL OAK — A Royal Oak police officer is on administrative leave, per the Police Department’s policies and procedures, after being involved in a fatal on-duty shooting April 10 at White Castle, near 13 Mile Road and Coolidge Highway.

According to police, the incident began at 6:11 p.m. when the officer attempted to make a traffic stop. The driver fled from the officer, who observed the suspect vehicle shortly after in the drive-thru of White Castle, police said.

Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue told C & G Newspapers that the officer stopped the suspect’s vehicle, a dark-colored BMW, in the area of 13 Mile Road and Coolidge Highway. When the officer began to approach the suspect’s vehicle, O’Donohue said, the suspect fled through the White Castle parking lot.

He said the officer lost contact with the BMW almost immediately and terminated the pursuit.

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

The individual, he said, struck the vehicle behind him in the drive-thru — a minivan — and also struck the officer’s patrol car. It was unclear whether these collisions occurred before or after the shooting.

O’Donohue said that after fleeing east down 13 Mile, the BMW came to rest near 13 Mile and Shenandoah and struck another vehicle — a blue Honda minivan.

“After being shot, the driver fled eastbound from the parking lot and struck a vehicle on 13 Mile near Shenandoah,” a police press release states. “The driver, and only occupant of the vehicle, was treated on scene by responding officers and Royal Oak Fire Department paramedics.”

The press release does not include any information about the circumstances of the shooting.

“Oakland County is doing the investigation and I don’t think it’d be appropriate to release preliminary information,” O’Donohue said. “We want an independent investigation by Oakland County. They have very competent investigators, and we want that investigation to stand on its own.”

Police said the driver of the BMW was transported to Beaumont Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, and the driver of the Honda minivan was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

During the afternoon April 11, the Royal Oak Police Department sent out a press release identifying the deceased as 28-year-old Antonino Thomas Gordon, of Commerce Township.

Police said in the release that Gordon has had numerous contacts with law enforcement, including multiple arrests for operating while intoxicated and disorderly conduct, and he had a criminal bench warrant for his arrest, with a $75,000 bond, at the time of the incident.

“This loss of life is tragic, and the Royal Oak Police Department understands the public’s desire for more details of this incident, yet it would be (inappropriate) to release partial information until the investigation is complete,” the release states.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office’s Special Investigation Unit is handling the investigation.

The White Castle was closed the morning of April 11.

Police ask that anyone with information 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.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office could not be reached for comment.