70 Year Old Man Fires Shots Inside Withington West Apartments in Ferndale UPDATED

70 Year Old Man Fires Shots Inside Withington West Apartments in Ferndale UPDATED

(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 4, 2019)

Ferndale, MI – Police from multiple departments were on the scene at Withington West Apartments at Planavon and Withington in Ferndale in response to an active shooter in the building Tuesday night.  A 70 year old male open-fired in the hallway of the first or second floor around 7:45pm.

According to Ferndale Police Sargent Baron Brown, the man was firing at another resident, but did not hit them.

After firing the shots, the man retreated to his apartment.  Several SWAT teams entered the building, while the negotiator outside his window repeatedly asked him to come out or to show that he was okay.

Some residents remained sheltered in place, while others we escorted out by armed members of Oakland County SWAT Team. Those that left were taken to a secure location for the night.

Withington West (415 Withington) is one of the properties managed by the Ferndale Housing Commission, with residents who are low income, elderly, and disabled. Brown said he did not know what led to the man firing at the other resident.

Brown released a statement early Wednesday morning.  “Ferndale Police, eventually assisted by the Oakland County SWAT Team, as well as officers from Pleasant Ridge, Madison Heights, and Hazel Park, set up and maintained a strict perimeter around both the building and apartment unit in question,” he said.  “Despite more than four hours of attempted negotiation by law enforcement officers with the goal of a peaceful, nonviolent resolution, the suspect was found deceased shortly before 1:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. He was pronounced dead at the scene.”

“Our goal in a situation like this is the safety of everyone involved,” said Ferndale Police Chief Vincent Palazzolo. “We had tactical, investigative, detective, and SWAT officers at the scene, a really skilled team, and we worked hard for a peaceful resolution. While we didn’t achieve that, we did see an outcome with no additional victims or injuries, and I’m proud of that.”

Ferndale City Manager Joseph Gacioch offered his condolences to the family of the individual involved, and praised Ferndale Police for their difficult work.

“This is the kind of situation we hope never to have to experience, and our hearts go out to the family and friends of the individual involved in tonight’s incident,” said Gacioch. “I worked closely with Chief Palazzolo and the Ferndale Police Department throughout the night and I can attest that officers did everything in their power to resolve the situation peacefully. We’ll continue to investigate and will release additional information about the case as it becomes available.”

Gacioch also expressed gratitude for Ferndale Housing Commission Director Heather VanPoucker.

“Heather was on scene the entire night, ensuring the safety and comfort of the apartment building’s residents,” Gacioch said. “We’ll be working with Heather and her staff to coordinate and offer crisis counseling to any of her residents in need.”

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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