Cherborn – Police arrested a suspected gunman on Thursday night after a standoff at a hotel in which the suspect allegedly opened fire after an argument with staff, killing one man, a hotel worker.
The 38-year-old suspect’s arrest came after a nearly seven-hour standoff at the Hampton Inn hotel in downtown Dearborn.
‘There was some sort of argument with the hotel staff…it was about money,’ Dearborn Police Chief Issa Shahin said of the incident at the hotel. on Michigan Ave. Shahin noted that the victim was a 55-year-old hotel worker from Riverview who was “just trying to do his job.”
“We spent the last seven hours negotiating with an individual armed with a rifle… repeatedly threatening officers, and it was pretty tenuous,” the chief told reporters. “But luckily we were able to resolve this peacefully.”
Shahin said the suspect, who was not named Thursday, had a history of mental illness and drug addiction.
During his nearly nine-month tenure as police chief, Shahin noted that “too often we come across situations with mentally ill people who are armed with guns and the results are often tragic. There is a larger problem here.”
Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud echoed those sentiments Thursday night.
“It’s time we had solutions,” he said.
The incident came just days after another shooting in which a mentally ill man was killed by Detroit police, prompting the city’s police chief to point to the rise in incidents violence involving people with mental health issues and what he called health system failures.
Porter Burks, 22, was fatally shot on Littlefield Street on Detroit’s west side on Sunday after refusing officers’ requests to drop a knife. Police said Burks had a long history of mental illness and run-ins with authorities. A crisis response officer was on the scene, and officers pleaded with Burks to drop the gun.
“We conducted our investigation into Mr. Burks’ past, and we found…unfortunately, a system that has failed Mr. Burks repeatedly over the past few years,” said Christopher Graveline, director of professional services at Detroit police. norms and constitutional police.
In Dearborn on Thursday, the police chief initially called the hotel standoff a “waiting game.” Officers negotiated with the suspected shooter, who had barricaded himself on the third floor of the hotel, for hours.
The crisis negotiators were “tireless”, Shahin told reporters. “They were on the phone, doing their best to talk to him.”
Cpl. Dan Bartok, the information officer for the Dearborn Police Department, said police responded to a call for gunfire at 1:09 p.m. Thursday. The shooting took place on the third floor, Bartok said. Police described the weapon used in the shooting as a long gun.
Police have not released details of the suspect or how long he was staying at the hotel.
Shahin told reporters the suspect locked himself in a room after officers began approaching him. Shortly before the suspect was detained, authorities broke through a third-story window to rescue a guest.
During the confrontation, Michigan State Police and Dearborn police officials warned people to stay away from the scene of the shooting.
“It’s a dangerous situation, that person is still likely to shoot passers-by in that area,” MSP Lt. Michael Shaw said. “So, I can’t say it enough. It’s not a safe area, don’t go down to downtown Dearborn.”
The warnings did not deter the many people who turned out to see the activity. Some were pulled from workplaces or lured from shops to the scene of the streets and bustle. Soon what began as a bustling gathering of people watching the police mass along Michigan turned dark as more police vehicles and personnel gathered as the standoff continued, sirens blaring, flashing police lights.
Pedestrians in the bustling mall across from the Hampton Inn were directed away from Michigan Avenue as they looked to see what was happening less than half a block away. Each time the police shouted, “Get out of the line of fire!”
“I fear for my community”
Sarah Azaz, 28, was working at the Cosmo salon on Michigan Avenue, interviewing a job applicant when she saw 30 police cars drive by. She ran out of the building to make sure her mother, Sue Azaz, in Biggby across the street was okay. Sue Azaz owns the mall cafe.
“I’m not scared, but I’m scared for my community,” Sue Azaz said.
Hian Beydoun, 20, lives near the Hampton Inn. “It’s kind of terrifying to think that something so bad could happen so close to home, especially when you’re supposed to feel safe,” Beydoun said.
Kamal Mustafa, 55, lives a few blocks from the scene but was in east Dearborn when he heard police were responding to a shooting. Her son attends Dearborn High School, about a mile from the Hampton Inn.
“The first thing that came to mind was someone shooting in the school. So I just robbed here,” he said.
Mustafa said the students were sent home for the day.
Bobak Dehkordi, manager of Athletico’s in Michigan, said he closed the office after customers called off the shooting. He gave members of the SWAT team and other authorities access to his toilet during the confrontation.
Dehkordi said he hadn’t seen anything so unusual in Dearborn.
“Not in this neighborhood. Not like this,” he said.
He says he served in the Iranian army: “So I’m used to fighting.