Sarah Rahal and Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News
A man accused of shooting a Washtenaw County Sheriff’s deputy following a dispute with neighbors died after a nearly 9-hour standoff, investigators said.
Sheriff Jerry Clayton said he couldn’t confirm the man’s cause of death but said investigators made entry into the home where he was barricaded and found him dead.
“We don’t know how he was deceased, but it’s a loss of a human life and that for us is distressing,” the sheriff said.
The deputy, who has not been identified, had been hospitalized in stable condition after being hit twice by gunshots that came from a bedroom window of the home, a witness said.
The shot from a rifle “penetrated his chest and came out on the other side,” Clayton said. “He’s in stable condition now … and faces a significant recovery.”
He said the deputy was “healthy and able to go home.”
“In what could have been a worst-case scenario turned out as best you could hope for,” he said of the deputy’s condition.
The incident that began about 2 p.m. Wednesday brought dozens of officers to the Oakbrook residential neighborhood in Superior Township, about two miles north of Ypsilanti. They included state and federal officials, Clayton said.
Deputies responded when a neighbor reported that a dispute had erupted in gunfire. Deputies drew fire as they approached the scene, said Derrick Jackson, director of community engagement for the sheriff’s department.
“Something happened, and one of the neighbors pulled out a weapon and started firing,” said Jackson. “That’s when we got a call from the neighbor.”
The incident happened at a condominium in the 8300 block of Lakeview Court near Berkshire. Residents in the Washtenaw County community were asked to remain indoors, with the restriction applying to those in the area bordered by North Prospect Road, Geddes, East Clark Road and North Harris.
The suspect started shooting at deputies from inside the home when they approached the house, Jackson said. That is when the deputy was struck, he said, and taken to an area hospital by another deputy.
Officers had not been able to make contact by 6:30 p.m. with the suspect, who remained barricaded in the home. It was not known if anyone else was in the house.
At about 8 p.m., sheriff’s officials said the neighborhood lockdown remained in place and “officers continue to use every tool available in order to establish contact and bring this to a peaceful conclusion.”
A lawn care service employee said the male resident of the condo began staring at him and his coworkers, started yelling and then threatened them and neighbors with a gun. Moments later, the witness said, deputies arrived and the officer was shot while walking across the street toward them.
A SWAT team on the scene joined state police, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s deputies, Ann Arbor police and undercover officers
Throughout the complex, heavily armed officers in military gear stood guard.
Julie Jongeward, 33, lives on the street and said officers told residents that a sheriff’s deputy was shot.
“They told me someone shot the sheriff deputy and we’re thinking the gunman either took off because they won’t let anyone move, or he’s still there,” she said watching the scene at Berkshire and Sheffield Drive.
“They said this area would be blocked of until the rest of the night.”
Jongeward has lived in the complex, a mixture of homes and condos, for seven years. She said it’s usually calm.
“I usually go walking around this time, lots of bike riders and a quiet neighborhood,” she said. “Especially, in the newer subdivision. I don’t hear of anything. This is not typical.”
Jeniffer Roquemore, who lives in a condo on Lakeview Court near the gunman, could not get home Wednesday, saying a fireman wouldn’t let anyone in.
“I’ve lived here for 30 years and nothing like this has ever happened,” she said. “It’s a beautiful place. We live across a large field with deer and it’s very calm. I have no idea what could have happened.”
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