Shooting in suburban Detroit injures nine people, leaving 8-year-old in critical condition | The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. — Nine people were injured, including two young children and their mother, after a gunman opened fire at a suburban Detroit splash pad where families gathered Saturday to escape the summer heat. Law enforcement officers followed a suspect to a home, where the man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

An 8-year-old boy was shot in the head Saturday evening and was in critical condition, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said at a news conference. The boy’s mother was also in critical condition after suffering injuries to the abdomen and leg, and his four-year-old brother was in stable condition with a leg wound.

Authorities initially said they believed as many as 10 people had gunshot wounds from the Rochester Hills shooting, but that number was revised after contacting area hospitals.

The other six victims, all 30 or older, were in stable condition, Bouchard said. Among them were a couple and a 78-year-old man.

The shooting happened just after 5 p.m. in a city park that has a recreation area with a non-slip surface where people can turn on sprays and water fountains to play in. Bouchard said the attack appeared to be random, with the gunman driving to the park. , walk up to the splash pad and shoot a whopping 28 times, stopping several times to reload.

At least one witness reported that the gunman appeared to use two handguns during the attack, but that has not yet been confirmed, the sheriff said.

In the chaos, “people fell, got hit and tried to run away,” Bouchard said. “Terrible things that all of us in our law enforcement activities have unfortunately seen far too often.”

The gunman “apparently was in no hurry. He simply walked calmly back to his car,” the sheriff said.

Police heard the 911 call reporting the shooting as it came in, Bouchard said, because the agency uses a service that simultaneously sends emergency calls to first responders. He said an officer was on the scene within two minutes.

Bouchard said the first officers who arrived immediately began administering first aid, including tourniquets. Officers were also able to quickly determine a likely address and a car matching the suspect’s vehicle was located at the home.

Officers surrounded the home and attempted to make contact with the suspect inside, but to no avail, Bouchard said. They sent a drone into the house and then entered to find the suspect dead.

Another weapon was found inside. The suspect’s quick control may have prevented a “second chapter” of the shooting, the sheriff said, showing a photo of a semiautomatic rifle on a table in the home.

The suspect did not live in Rochester Hills and investigators do not yet know why he went to the splash pad, Bouchard said.

Officials have not released the man’s name. Bouchard described him as a 42-year-old white man and said officials believed he lived with his mother. The man’s mother was notified, Bouchard said.

“As far as ‘why’ goes, I don’t know,” Bouchard said of the shooter’s motive.

At the splash pad, authorities found a handgun, three empty magazines and 28 spent shell casings. At the home, they found a semiautomatic rifle and another handgun believed to have been used by the suspect to take his life, Bouchard said.

Police cordoned off the area with tape and dozens of yellow evidence markers lay on the ground between colorful folding chairs.

“When I got to the scene, I started crying because I know what a splash pad is supposed to be,” said Mayor Bryan Barnett of Rochester Hills, a place where people gather and have fun.

The shooting reminded us “that we live in a vulnerable place,” Barnett said.

Rochester Hills is about 15 miles south of Oxford, where a 15-year-old fatally shot four high school students in 2021.

Counseling would be made available Sunday at a local government office for anyone in need, Bouchard said. The Oxford Resiliency Center, created to help those affected by the 2021 Oxford High School shooting, remains operational and can assist community members, he said.

“Our fondest hope, at least at this time, is that all injured victims will make a speedy recovery,” Bouchard said. “None of us expected to enter Father’s Day weekend with this type of tragedy that will deeply affect families forever.”

Saturday’s shooting occurred at the end of the first full week of summer vacation for Rochester Community Schools students.

Bouchard called it “a blow” to the province.

“We’ve had so many tragedies,” the sheriff said. “You know, we don’t even fully understand what happened in Oxford. And you know, now we’re dealing with another complete tragedy.”

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said on the social platform