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Shooting in Detroit suburb injures 9, leaving an 8-year-old in critical condition

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Shooting in Detroit suburb injures 9, leaving an 8-year-old in critical condition
News

News

Shooting in Detroit suburb injures 9, leaving an 8-year-old in critical condition

2024-06-16 22:32 Last Updated At:22:40

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Nine people were injured, including two young children and their mother, after a shooter opened fire at a splash pad in a Detroit suburb where families gathered to escape the summer heat Saturday. Police tracked the shooter to a home, where the man apparently shot himself to death, authorities said.

An 8-year-old boy was shot in the head and in critical condition Saturday night, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said during a news conference. The boy's mother also was in critical condition after being wounded in the abdomen and leg, and his 4-year-old brother was in stable condition with a leg wound.

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An officer with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department secures the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. (Katy Kildee, The Detroit News/Detroit News via AP)

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Nine people were injured, including two young children and their mother, after a shooter opened fire at a splash pad in a Detroit suburb where families gathered to escape the summer heat Saturday. Police tracked the shooter to a home, where the man apparently shot himself to death, authorities said.

Officials with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department, Rochester Hills Fire Department and other jurisdictions secure the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)

Officials with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department, Rochester Hills Fire Department and other jurisdictions secure the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)

A police officer walks across the plaza of the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad in Rochester Hills, Mich., where police say there was an active shooter Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)

A police officer walks across the plaza of the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad in Rochester Hills, Mich., where police say there was an active shooter Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)

Officials with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department, Rochester Hills Fire Department and other jurisdictions secure the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. (Katy Kildee/Detroit News via AP)

Officials with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department, Rochester Hills Fire Department and other jurisdictions secure the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. (Katy Kildee/Detroit News via AP)

Police respond to the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says there are “numerous wounded victims” after police were called for an active shooter. (WXYZ via AP)

Police respond to the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says there are “numerous wounded victims” after police were called for an active shooter. (WXYZ via AP)

Police respond to the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says there are “numerous wounded victims” after police were called for an active shooter. (WXYZ via AP)

Police respond to the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says there are “numerous wounded victims” after police were called for an active shooter. (WXYZ via AP)

Police respond to the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says there are “numerous wounded victims” after police were called for an active shooter. (WXYZ via AP)

Police respond to the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says there are “numerous wounded victims” after police were called for an active shooter. (WXYZ via AP)

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

The shooting happened just after 5 p.m. at a city park featuring a recreation area with a nonslip surface where people can turn on sprays and fountains of water to play in. Bouchard said the attack appeared to be random, with the shooter driving up to the park, walking to the splash pad and firing as many as 28 times, stopping multiple times to reload.

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

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

The gunman was “apparently in no rush. Just calmly walked 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. An officer was at the scene within two minutes, he said.

Bouchard said the first deputies who arrived immediately began providing first aid, including tourniquets. Authorities found a handgun, three empty magazines and at least 28 spent shell casings at the splash pad.

Investigators used the handgun's registration information to obtain the suspect's likely address, the sheriff said. When police arrived at the residence they found a car matching the suspect's vehicle. Deputies surrounded the home and tried to make contact with the suspect inside, to no avail, Bouchard said. They sent a drone inside the home and then entered to find the suspect was dead.

Bouchard said the man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Deputies discovered a handgun next to the body that may have been the second weapon the witness saw, the sheriff said.

Deputies also found a semiautomatic rifle lying on the kitchen table, Bouchard said. The quick containment of the suspect may have prevented a “second chapter” to the shooting, the sheriff said.

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

Officials did not release the man's name. Bouchard described him as a 42-year-old man and said officials believe he lived with his mother. The man’s mother was notified, Bouchard said.

The man had no prior police contacts and no criminal history, Bouchard said.

“It's our understanding that he was undergoing some mental health challenges but no one that we know of was notified,” the sheriff said. He did not elaborate further on the suspect's mental health history.

The sheriff said investigators plan to search for any writings that the shooter may have left behind as well as dig into his electronic devices to piece together a motive.

“In terms of the ‘why,’ I don’t know,” Bouchard said of the gunman’s motive.

Rochester Hills is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Oxford, where in 2021 a 15-year-old fatally shot four high school students.

“I love my community and my heart breaks today,” Rochester Mayor Bryan Barnett said. “When I got on scene I started to cry because I know what a splash pad is supposed to be. It's supposed to be a place where people gather, where families make memories, where people have fun and enjoy a Saturday afternoon, and it wasn't today. It's a mental reset and a reminder we live in a fragile place with fragile people."

Saturday's shooting came at the end of the first full week of summer vacation for students attending Rochester Community schools.

Bouchard called it “a gut punch” for the county.

“We’ve gone through so many tragedies,” the sheriff said. “You know, we’re not even fully comprehending what happened at Oxford. And, you know, now we have another complete tragedy that we’re dealing with.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said on the social platform X that she was heartbroken to learn of the shooting and was in touch with local officials.

An officer with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department secures the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. (Katy Kildee, The Detroit News/Detroit News via AP)

An officer with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department secures the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. (Katy Kildee, The Detroit News/Detroit News via AP)

Officials with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department, Rochester Hills Fire Department and other jurisdictions secure the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)

Officials with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department, Rochester Hills Fire Department and other jurisdictions secure the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)

A police officer walks across the plaza of the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad in Rochester Hills, Mich., where police say there was an active shooter Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)

A police officer walks across the plaza of the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad in Rochester Hills, Mich., where police say there was an active shooter Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)

Officials with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department, Rochester Hills Fire Department and other jurisdictions secure the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. (Katy Kildee/Detroit News via AP)

Officials with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department, Rochester Hills Fire Department and other jurisdictions secure the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. (Katy Kildee/Detroit News via AP)

Police respond to the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says there are “numerous wounded victims” after police were called for an active shooter. (WXYZ via AP)

Police respond to the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says there are “numerous wounded victims” after police were called for an active shooter. (WXYZ via AP)

Police respond to the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says there are “numerous wounded victims” after police were called for an active shooter. (WXYZ via AP)

Police respond to the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says there are “numerous wounded victims” after police were called for an active shooter. (WXYZ via AP)

Police respond to the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says there are “numerous wounded victims” after police were called for an active shooter. (WXYZ via AP)

Police respond to the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Mich. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says there are “numerous wounded victims” after police were called for an active shooter. (WXYZ via AP)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — University of Florida president Ben Sasse plans to leave his position as head of one of the leading public universities in the U.S. to focus on taking care of his family after his wife was diagnosed with epilepsy.

In a post on the social platform X, the former U.S. senator from Nebraska said Thursday night that “after extensive prayer and lots of family tears,” he asked university officials that day to start looking for a new president. In a statement, the university said his resignation is effective July 31. He took the position almost two years ago.

“I need to step back for a time and focus more on the needs of my family while we rebuild more stable household systems,” Sasse said, adding that he would continue to teach at the university in Gainesville, Florida.

Sasse's wife, Melissa, who had an aneurysm and a series of strokes in 2007, was recently diagnosed with epilepsy and has been having “a new batch of memory issues," he said.

“We’ve battled some nasty seizures the last couple years, but she’s always remained a warrior,” he said.

The couple has two daughters in college, and their youngest child is turning 13, he said.

Sasse, a Republican, left the senate last year after being named the 13th president of the university.

While in the Senate, he was a prominent critic of former President Donald Trump who joined with a handful of other Republicans to vote in favor of conviction in his impeachment trial after the 2021 Capitol riot. That led to criticism from within Sasse's own party even though he voted with Trump 85% of the time and helped get his three Supreme Court nominees confirmed.

Sasso was a controversial pick to head the University of Florida, and he faced vocal opposition from some faculty and students who objected to his stance against same-sex marriage and positions on other LGBTQ issues.

Some faculty and students also questioned his qualifications to run such a sprawling school with more than 50,000 students. The university's faculty Senate voted no confidence on an opaque selection process in which Sasse emerged as the sole finalist.

The chair of the university's board of trustees, Mori Hosseini, thanked Sasse for his leadership.

“He has left a lasting impact on the university and all of those associated with it. We wish Ben all the best as he steps back to focus on his family,” Hosseini said.

Sasse thanked the university for welcoming his family and said he was grateful for the professors and students as well those behind the scenes, like third-shift maintenance crews and the early morning cafeteria workers.

“We love you. You touched our hearts and made this more than a job — you made it our community,” Sasse said. “That’s why we’re not going anywhere.”

FILE - U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., listens during a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 23, 2022. Sasse, who left office to become the University of Florida president, announced late Thursday, July 18, 2024, that he will leave his job at the university at the end of the month so he can focus on taking care of his family after his wife was diagnosed with epilepsy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

FILE - U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., listens during a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 23, 2022. Sasse, who left office to become the University of Florida president, announced late Thursday, July 18, 2024, that he will leave his job at the university at the end of the month so he can focus on taking care of his family after his wife was diagnosed with epilepsy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

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