James David DicksonThe Detroit News
Detroit — A man who barricaded himself in a home on Detroit’s west side Tuesday morning, after allegedly firing a shot at Redford police officers, is a suspect in a triple homicide, police said.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the man, 38, belongs to an area motorcycle gang. Police believe one of the victims may have been a former or current member of the group.
Richard Nelson Sr. arrived at the scene early Tuesday afternoon and identified himself as the father of one of the hostages, Richard Nelson Jr., 44.
He said his son only met the suspect “about a week ago.”
As for what his son was doing over there Tuesday morning, or the relationship of either man to the female hostage, Nelson said “I have no idea.”
Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood said the triple homicide took place on June 11 on the 19100 block of Helen. That’s on Detroit’s east side, at East Seven Mile west of Van Dyke.
The three men’s bodies were found after the Detroit Fire Department extinguished what appeared to be a house fire. The victims were “burned beyond recognition,” authorities said.
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The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office said the victims’ autopsy results are still pending.
The trouble Tuesday started with an attempted traffic stop near the Detroit-Redford border.
That traffic stop was initiated about 2:30 a.m. in the area of Telegraph and Fenkell, said Capt. Kurt Worboys of the Detroit Police Department, in an interview from the scene published on Facebook.
Capt. Al DiPrima of the Redford Township Police Department said an older-model GMC pickup truck “disregarded” a red light at Telegraph and Fenkell.
Police turned on lights and sirens and tried to pull over the truck as it traveled east on Fenkell, but the driver allegedly disregarded that too.
The driver then turned right onto Iliad, headed north. When he reached a home on the 15300 block of Iliad, he exited the truck, leaving it running, and ran onto the porch.
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Redford police approached him and he allegedly fired one shot.
No one was hit, but officers backed off. Then the man allegedly broke a window and entered the home.
Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood, a spokeswoman for Detroit Police Department, said the man entered his own home.
Redford police “had no indication” of the man’s alleged involvement in anything beyond running the light, DiPrima said.
Craig, in a press conference near the scene nearly eight hours after the barricaded situation was declared, said “we’ll wait him out. We’ll be patient.”
Detroit Police Department published the press conference on its Facebook page.
Craig cited a three-day November 2019 barricaded gunman situation that Detroit police resolved without any violence to show the lengths the department will go for a peaceful resolution.
That standoff actually took place a month later, in December 2019. Craig said the peaceful resolution represented some of the best police work he had ever seen.
“We never thought we would go into this for three days. This is some of the best police work I’ve seen in 43 years,” Craig said at the time.
“We never rush,” Craig said Tuesday. “We practice de-escalation.”
There is a concern the suspect is “under the influence,” Craig said, naming alcohol and meth as possibilities. The man also might be battling schizophrenia, Craig said, in addition to his possible legal troubles.
“He realizes he’s potentially facing very serious charges,” Craig said. “This might be his last time of freedom.”
Inside the home when the suspect entered it were two adults, a man and a woman. The suspect has declared them his “hostages,” and Craig said the suspect conveyed that “if we tried to come in, he would take his life, and theirs.”
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After the suspect allegedly took the hostages, Redford police then requested assistance from the Detroit Police Department, which sent personnel from the sixth and eighth precincts on the city’s west side.
A sergeant from the eighth precinct declared it a barricaded gunman situation, which it remains during morning rush hour, as the sun begins to come up.
Worboys advised people to avoid the neighborhood, and asks residents of the neighborhood to “stay indoors.” Craig repeated that request later Tuesday.
“Nothing has changed,” Craig said.