Shooting and chase starts in Detroit, ends at Pier Park

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 16, 2019

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — A shooting and wild car chase involving at least three vehicles that started in Detroit ended up with one vehicle in Lake St. Clair early Saturday morning.

Around 5 a.m. July 13, Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety Director Daniel Jensen said, three vehicles were at a Project Greenlight gas station in Detroit at Seven Mile and Hoover roads, and security footage shows that the individuals inside those vehicles appeared to be speaking with one another. A white Dodge Charger passed those vehicles, and at least two of the vehicles at the gas station — a gray Dodge Charger and a black Nissan Pathfinder — were then seen chasing after and shooting at the white Charger.

The pursuit and shooting apparently continued all the way down Seven Mile — which becomes Moross Road — because when the white Charger reached the end of Moross at Lake Shore Road, Jensen said, it continued on, crashing through the heavy metal exit gates at Pier Park, with the other two vehicles still close behind.

The suspects reportedly continued to chase and shoot at the white Charger as they drove around the parking lot. With nowhere to go, the white Charger — occupied by a driver and one passenger — headed down the narrow road that leads to the community building and the harbor. Shortly before reaching the harbor, Jensen said, the driver jumped out of the while Charger, which rolled into the water, somehow driving through the only empty boatwell in that row.

The suspects reportedly ran up to the sinking vehicle and continued to fire into it, but miraculously, no one was hit by gunfire, including the passenger, who got out of the Charger after it sank.

“We’re not sure how many shots were fired,” said Jensen, noting that police collected numerous shell casings at the park, along with multiple firearms and a great deal of ammunition inside one of the suspect vehicles.

Farms Public Safety officers were initially called about malicious destruction of property at the park, Jensen said. As police were en route, he said the two vehicles driven by the suspects were leaving and heading north on Moross. One of the vehicles, upon seeing police, made a sudden right turn on Kercheval Avenue, arousing the suspicion in an officer who started to follow it.

That vehicle accelerated, and since police only knew at this point about the accident, they called off their pursuit, heading to the park instead upon learning that an occupied vehicle had gone into the water. After discovering that both of the victims — a 20-year-old man and a 29-year-old man — were out of the water and had sustained only minor injuries, the officer who had followed the vehicle on Kercheval returned to that area to see the suspect vehicle pulling into a driveway and three suspects getting out and fleeing on foot. Jensen said those suspects, after dashing through backyards, would end up getting apprehended by Grosse Pointe Shores Public Safety officers, albeit “covered in spider webs, dirt and leaves” after encountering residential landscaping.

Another Farms patrol officer saw a vehicle on Mack Avenue with a flat tire and followed a trail of damage until locating the second suspect vehicle, abandoned in the area of Chester Street and Moross in Detroit. Jensen said that vehicle had been stolen, and the driver and passenger appeared to have fled the area on foot, but Jensen said Farms officers processed the vehicle and collected evidence to be sent for testing.

The victims claimed to police that they had no idea who the suspects were or why they were being pursued, Jensen said. Both were taken to a nearby hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

“We are extremely lucky that, at that time in the morning, there wasn’t a pedestrian or motorist who got hit by cars or flying bullets,” Jensen said.

Although Pier Park was closed at the time, City Manager Shane Reeside said there had been a security guard inside, and there could have been boaters returning to the harbor. Jensen said the white Charger did clip a neighboring boat, but the damage seemed minor.

The incident resulted in the toppling of the exit gates and a decorative light pole in the parking lot, but otherwise, “fortunately, (the damage) was pretty minimal,” Reeside said.

The park remained closed until about 10 a.m. July 13 for police to process the scene and collect evidence, but it has since resumed normal operations, he said. At press time, Reeside said they were getting estimates on repair costs, which “will be a few thousand dollars, we anticipate.” He said the city would file a claim through its insurance carrier. It will probably be several weeks before the gates can be repaired or replaced, while a new light pole will likely be installed within a couple of weeks, Reeside said.

Besides officers from the Shores, Jensen said Grosse Pointe Park and City also sent officers to assist.

“The cooperation of our departments is outstanding in situations like this,” Jensen said. “We all rely on each other.”

Jensen said none of the suspects are juveniles. Two suspects remained at large at press time.

Charges will be up to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, but Jensen said they could include felonies such as attempted murder and felonious assault.

Jensen said the incident shouldn’t leave residents in fear.

“The residents of Grosse Pointe Farms are no more in danger of this (in the future) than they were on Friday night,” he said.

Anyone with more information about this incident can call (313) 885-2100.