Suspect charged after social media video includes threat to shoot police

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published August 12, 2019

 Gisstennal

Gisstennal

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ROYAL OAK — On Aug. 9, Royal Oak police arrested a 28-year-old man in Detroit who allegedly posted to social media in March a video containing threats to shoot police.

On Aug. 10, 52-1 District Court Magistrate Michael Bosnic arraigned Martin Fritzgerald Gisstennal, of Detroit, on one count of false report or threat of terrorism, a felony that carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, and one count of carrying a concealed weapon, a felony that carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

According to police, Royal Oak officers were alerted to a Snapchat video depicting a man holding a Glock handgun and making statements that he was going to shoot police officers. 

During the 29-second video, the man is seen sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle as it drives by officers, paramedics and firefighters who were working at a motor vehicle accident at Greenfield and Normandy roads.

In the profanity-laden video, the man can be heard telling the driver to roll down his window as the vehicle approaches the scene of the accident. The driver laughs as the man holding the gun says, “I’m about to shoot at the police.”

Lt. Keith Spencer, of the Royal Oak Police Department, said police were made aware of the video the day after it was posted to Snapchat.

He said detectives immediately began to review the video to identify the people involved. After a long investigation, police said it was Gisstennal who was holding the gun and speaking in the video.

“You watch this video and it’s a disturbing video,” Spencer said. “These threats are taken very seriously. This particular threat was disturbing in the fact that you have an individual holding a firearm while he’s making these threats. It doesn’t get more serious than that.”

Spencer said he could not go into further details about the investigation, but that detectives worked long hours to identify everybody involved in the incident.

“It’s a result of the hard work of the investigators and detectives that we were able to identify the person speaking in the video,” Spencer said.

Spencer added that law enforcement did not charge the driver seen in the video.

Bosnic set Gisstennal’s bond at $25,000 cash or surety, no 10%. Gisstennal requested a court-appointed attorney, but one had not been appointed as of press time. He is due back in court for a probable cause conference before 44th District Court Judge Derek Meinecke at 9 a.m. Aug. 19.

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.

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