Michigan splash pad shooting: Suspect dies of suicide after injuring 9, leaving an 8-year-old in critical condition - Hindustan Times
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Michigan splash pad shooting: Suspect dies of suicide after injuring 9, leaving an 8-year-old in critical condition

Jun 16, 2024 04:19 PM IST

Oakland County Sheriff called the incident a “gut punch” to the country, as the suspect left 9 people injured, including two young children and their mother.

A shooter opened fire at a splash pad in a Detroit suburb, leaving nine people injured, including two children and their mother, on Saturday. According to authorities, the suspect, tracked by law enforcement to a home, was found dead by a self-inflicted gunshot.

Evidence markers indicate the position of spent shell casings following a mass shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad in Rochester Hills, Michigan, U.S. June 15, 2024. (via REUTERS)
Evidence markers indicate the position of spent shell casings following a mass shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad in Rochester Hills, Michigan, U.S. June 15, 2024. (via REUTERS)

The Associated Press reported that the authorities initially believed that at least 10 people were afflicted by gunshot wounds during the Rochester Hills shooting. However, the number was later revised after authorities consulted with the hospitals in the area.

Among the victims, an 8-year-old boy who was shot in the head was found in critical condition, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said. In addition, the young boy's mother was wounded in the abdomen and leg, with his 4-year-old brother in stable condition, but afflicted with a leg wound.

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Where did the Michigan shooting happen?

Reports claim that the incident took place at a splash pad in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills just after 5 pm. Families were gathered there to beat the heat as the city park, where the shooting happened, featured a recreation area with a nonslip surface where sprays and fountains of water could be turned on for amusement.

Per the Oakland County Sheriff, the attack was seemingly random, as the shooter drove up to the park and fired around 28 times after walking up to the slash pad area. Additionally, a witness reportedly informed the authorities that the shooter appeared to have used two handguns. However, the sheriff later noted that this has yet to be confirmed.

Bouchard said that amid the chaos, “people were falling, getting hit, trying to run,” basically all “terrible things that unfortunately all of us in our law enforcement business have seen way too much.”

After the seemingly “random” onslaught, the shooter reportedly “just calmly walked back to his car.” He was “apparently in no rush.”

First responders instantly heeded the emergency 911 call as police heard it as the report of the shooting came in. Bouchard said that an officer was on the scene within two minutes.

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Was the shooter apprehended?

Deputies appeared to have tracked the man and surrounded his home. At first, they tried to reach out to the suspect inside, but they received no response. Eventually, they sent a drone inside the residence. The authorities soon found him dead inside the house.

They discovered another weapon, which the sheriff later displayed in a photo featuring a semiautomatic rifle.

As the investigation proceeded, the authorities revealed that the suspect did not live in the area. They're yet to find out what motivated him to go to the splash pad. The suspect's name hasn't been released yet either, but the Sheriff described him as a 42-year-old white man who purportedly lived with his mother.

In addition to locating a semiautomatic rifle, investigators found another handgun, which they believed was used by the man to kill himself. At the scene of the crime, authorities had previously recovered a handgun, three empty magazines and 28 spent shell casings.

Rochester Hills Mayor Brayn Barnett also commented on the case, signalling the “fragility” of our times: “When I got on scene I started to cry because I know what a splash pad is supposed to be.”

Even Bouchard branded it a “gut punch” for the nation, especially since they didn't anticipate “going into Father’s Day weekend with this kind of tragedy that families will be deeply affected by forever.”

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