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Posted on Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 8:51 a.m.

Bystander shoots at passing police chase in Ypsilanti, authorities say

By Lee Higgins

A police chase through Ypsilanti Sunday night took a bizarre turn when a drunken bystander fired at the fleeing car, Ypsilanti police said.

The man later told officers he heard the pursuit coming and wanted to help, so he tried to shoot out the vehicle's tires as it went by, a police incident log said.

The chase started in Van Buren Township when officers attempted to stop a 42-year-old man driving a 1994 Oldsmobile. He was wanted for retail fraud, the log said.

Washtenaw County Sheriff's deputies took over the chase when the Oldsmobile came into the county. The driver led deputies throughout the city of Ypsilanti in the areas of North Prospect, Forest, and Cross streets for about 20-30 minutes, police said.

As the pursuit traveled through Martin Place, a man shot a handgun at the vehicles, the log said. Police arrested a 52-year-old man who lives in the 600 block of Martin Place.

Officers located a loaded .357-Ruger on the porch. the log said. The man - who said he was only trying to help - had a blood alcohol level of 0.19, the log said.

Officers also arrested the man driving the Oldsmobile in the area of Forest and Oak, a sheriff's log said.

No further details were available this morning.



Wed, Sep 2, 2009 : 2:31 a.m.

People don't seem to understand-the man discharged a weapon with careless disregard for who may have been hit when and if he missed the vehicle. A billet could have gone into a house or yard and killed an innocent person. Sure, in his drunken state, he thought he would "Help". BUT he could have killed someone, maybe even your own child or someone you personally know and love. Guns don't kill people-PEOPLE kill people. What made this person think he could hit a speeding car and help the police. Let the police be the police and you just stay home and drink next time-this is not reality TV-this is reality. Thank God nobody was hurt but they very easily could have been. THINK PEOPLE!!


Tue, Sep 1, 2009 : 9:08 p.m.

Well, Rex Roof said that there should be more lenient CCW laws in Michigan, which I'm sure was a joke, tongue in cheek. For CCW advocates, hush your mouth about gun rights when our police force takes out a criminal who has a CCW permit or otherwise license to own because he got it when he was sober. We need more laws for gun ownership, not less.


Tue, Sep 1, 2009 : 12:27 p.m.

Bottom line, this guy is an idiot. Anyone who thinks he did the right thing can be deemed the same. If the police would have shot at this car (who was fleeing for a misdemeanor retail fraud charge) you'd all be calling for their jobs! And cinnabar7071, what are the police supposed to do, stop chasing because they are in your neighborhood? I understand the fear of pursuits in busy residential neighborhoods with small children, but this was the middle of the night. I really think this is insane, let them do what they are paid to do and stop monday morning quarterbacking them everytime they do something. Two criminals are off the street today because they chased through your neighborhood. Good job!

Ann Arbor Resident

Tue, Sep 1, 2009 : 10:35 a.m.

Ponycar: have a sense of humor, jeez


Tue, Sep 1, 2009 : 12:27 a.m.

This is so funny he need to be in jail.U just don't do that period.

Laura Bien

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 7:09 p.m.

Just painted the last bit of varnish on our new porch swing gun rack. This is an easy handyman project that you can do in just an hour using only a bit of scrap wood. Thanks to Patrick for the idea.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 6:45 p.m.

If he was really intent on stopping the chase he would have thrown a few hand grenades. Or better yet he could have run out and held up his hand to get them to stop.....

old east sider

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 6:27 p.m.

It was like a scene from the movies with all of the cop cars doing circles around our neighborhood and people on the streets watching them. Well, I have to put my vote in for the law officers. My family is from the east side of Detroit where you can watch your car being towed from your drive by thieves and when you call 911 they say that you have to (hitch a ride) go to the station to report it stolen and even with on-star (who has to have a police report to respond) your new car is in pieces within the hour. So, even though it was only a stereo system taken, law and order prevails. Thank you Washtenaw County for keeping us safe.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 3:15 p.m.

I don't think the police are superheroes, but they are trained in law enforcement, which ordinary citizens are not. I'm sure having to stop and arrest this idiot, did nothing to help them apprehend their original target. And I am thinking of the safety of children and the public in general (many of whom were out watching this event unfold) when I say shooting guns at cars during a chase is an all around bad idea. Besides, this fleeing felon, as you referred to him, was being pursued for stealing a stereo. That's hardly a crime worthy of being shot at and possibly killed. Though, I do agree with you that the chase itself created a dangerous situation.

willie wonka

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 3:14 p.m.

I stood and watched the whole thing along Forest.. That car had the cops in all directions.. its ashame with that many cop cars it lasted so long.. good thing it was at night because there are usually kids playing on those streets.. it was a show tho..


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 3:11 p.m.

Maybe if we had more people on porches with guns the police wouldn't have to chase so many people.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 3:05 p.m.

cinnibar if you're so concerned with the safety of the children in your area I wouldn't suggest people firing guns into the street as a solution.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 2:39 p.m.

No Nando we are not crazy, we just don't like car chases going though city streets for 20-30 minutes at a time, In my hood we have very young children outside playing, maybe not at this time of night, but whos to say he wouldn't have crashed into somebody homes. As long as the public is trained in firearm safty (and sober) I don't have a problem with public involvement. I know you think the police are superheros, but they as human as you and I.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 2:05 p.m.

Are you people crazy? Not sure why this guy was arrested?? All for citizen involvement??? The guy could've killed a bystander, a police officer, or the individual fleeing (who the man knew nothing about--why he was fleeing, whether he's really guilty of a crime, his mental state). That's called manslaughter or second degree murder. You can't just go out on your porch and start shooting at cars that aren't directly threatening you, no matter what you believe the situation to be. Besides, good luck shooting tires out with a pistol. Let the police do their job and lay off the booze and firearms. I hope this guy gets the sentence he deserves for being a complete idiot.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 1:33 p.m.

I guess this is what happens when the police can't handle their business. If the guy would not have been drunk I would be all for citizen involvment, including shoting at the feeing felon.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 12:53 p.m.

I'm not sure why this guy was arrested. He was only trying to help! Maybe the police should've given him target practice instead.

Laura Bien

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 12:24 p.m.

This was a heckuva chase--I was at home and heard it moving all over the city. At one point 5 police cars roared at full speed down our (tiny, quiet) street. Not 20 mins later, a non-police car followed by 2 police cars came speeding the other way. They nabbed the guy right around the corner from our home. The shooter said he'd been listening to a police scanner. Shooting out tires on a speeding vehicle, in a dense residential area = GREAT idea! Will the driver's sentence be lengthened due to the dangerous chase? One imagines him serving years in jail...all for stealing a stupid little piece of consumer junk. Truly pathetic.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 10:28 a.m.

Rex Roof and Ann Arbor Resident...a Concealed Pistol License (CCW or CPL) is obviously not a deputization, as anyone who has taken the course to get one knows. And of course this incident has nothing to do with the leniency of the "CCW laws" in Michigan. That's a silly attempt to cast apersions on those of us who have them. Please grow up and stick to the subject. This guy may have been truly trying to help but was WAY to drunk to try to help in any way, much less with a firearm. BTW: It doesn't seem like the drunk guy was carrying concealed anyway, at least it doesn't say so in the article. He was just sitting on his porch with his gun nearby. Very stupid when drinking. Also, he doesn't need a CPL to have the gun sitting out near him on his porch. Tha't legal for just about any non-felon.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 10:07 a.m.

I'm sorry...I understand the seriousness of this story, but it had me laughing out loud!! What an idiot...LOL

Ann Arbor Resident

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 10 a.m.

Just you have a CCW doesn't mean you have been deputized.

Some Guy in A2

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 9:56 a.m.

ajack: The law was enforced--the person who negligently discharged their firearm was arrested.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 9:42 a.m.

1. Why did it take so long for the police to catch the one being chased? 2. At least, the bystander was trying to help the right ones in the chase.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 9:20 a.m.

Any laws would discourage people from shooting into the street should be enforced. I'm thinking of children being shot. Who gives a damn about rights when it comes to that.

dading dont delete me bro

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 8:48 a.m.

rex roof, first the story doesn't say anything about the man having a ccw. second, it is ILLEGAL not to mention IRRESPONSIBLE to have a weapon 'on your person' when drinking whether you have such a permit or not.

Some Guy in A2

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 8:46 a.m.

Right, because CCW laws have any bearing on one's own property. I must have missed the part of the article where it even said he had a CCW (CPL). No, this is just a foolish drunk. No amount of legislation would have stopped an otherwise lawful citizen from doing something so stupid on their own property. As many systems administrators have found, you can't dictate things that ought to be common sense.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 8:43 a.m.

This is why every porch swing should have a gun rack. Trying to shoot out the tires of a passing car with a handgun is insane. You need a shotgun for that.

Rex Roof

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 8:15 a.m.

This is why we need more lenient CCW laws in michigan.