You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

Autopsy: University of Michigan medical student died from single gunshot wound

By John Counts


Police are saying 25-year-old Paul DeWolf died from a single gunshot wound.

Melanie Maxwell |

Paul DeWolf, the 25-year-old University of Michigan medical student found dead in Ann Arbor Wednesday, died from a single gunshot wound, an autopsy revealed.


Paul DeWolf

Facebook photo

No firearm was discovered at the scene of DeWolf's apartment, which was orderly and where the valuables appeared to be untouched when officers arrived, Detective Lt. Robert Pfannes said in a press release.

The cause of the injury wasn't immediately known after DeWolf's body was discovered and an autopsy was required to determine the cause of death, the release said.

The Washtenaw County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted the autopsy Thursday.

DeWolf was found dead in his apartment Wednesday in the Phi Rho Sigma fraternity house in the 200 block of North Ingalls Street. Police said DeWolf failed to arrive for a scheduled assignment at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Wednesday morning.

The hospital sent a colleague to the home to check on him, and that person discovered DeWolf had died. Police were immediately called following that discovery.

A funeral is being planned, an Air Force official confirmed. The official couldn't release any further information.

Previous coverage

Police continue to investigate the death of a U-M medical student

The Schoolcraft, Mich. native was a 2010 graduate of Grand Valley State University, where he was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon. DeWolf had just completed his third year of medical school at the University of Michigan and was studying to be a surgeon. He was set to graduate with his class of 170 students on May 16, 2014.

DeWolf was a reserve officer in the Medical Services Corps of the United States Air Force serving as a medical student under the the military's Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP), according to officials.

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman issued a statement Friday about DeWolf's death.

"We extend our deepest condolences to Paul’s family, friends and colleagues," Coleman's statement said. "He was working and training among a close, nurturing community of healers and I know they will help each other through this difficult time. They will need the support of the broader campus community in the weeks and months ahead, and we will provide it."

The Ann Arbor police are actively investigating this crime. Anybody with information is asked to call the Ann Arbor Police tip line 734-794-6939, or e-mail or Crimestoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP.

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

This is a tragic event that will undoubtedly weigh heavily on our communities, both local and academic. Condolences to his family, he seemed like a truly remarkable young person.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

This is incident is something that is personal in nature it is not some random shooting. I work in this area and it is a safe wonderful place to work. I have no fear from the area and have changed nothing. I would be interested in knowing the why.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 10:02 a.m.

my condolences to Paul's friends, family, co-workers and patients. way too much CSI-watching and clear very little practical knowledge in the comments here.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 2:04 a.m.

There is definitely a lot more to this story...


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 12:26 a.m.

Very sad. A potential savior of others' lives gone. A self-inflicted wound is possible if someone else removed the weapon after the event.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 8:14 a.m.

@nowayjose- Given this ME's past record, I would not make that assumption. I would also direct you to the autopsy of Mr. Widlak in McComb County as an example of an autopsy not being able to make the distinction between a self inflicted gunshot and a murder.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 1:20 a.m.

I think the medical examiner knows the difference between a self inflicted gunshot wound and that done by some else.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:44 p.m.

John and Kyle you are doing a good job of keeping readers abreast of this story and I, for one understand your need to screen comments. I'm sure many questions will be answered in the coming days oft weeks. The best outcome now will be to find out what happened and hopefully have some closure for his loved ones.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:10 p.m.

Why are you asking about police procedures, TruBlu? Why do you feel entitled to knowing the procedures the cops have or have not used applied? Point of fact, it is not your business to know any of this. The only people who should be concerned are the cops, the victims' family, and eventually, the lawyers. You don't count no matter how much you want to believe.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 5:31 a.m.

John and Kyle you are doing a good job??? Of doing what -besides misguidedly and purposely abandoning the idea of investigative reporting? Some of the speculative questions are rightly rebuffed but asking about normal police procedures in a case which has caused alarm and is of wide interest isn't cause for clumsy attempts at censorship or just stone-walling to conceal lack of journalistic energy. I don't see a single sign of "political campaigning" in all of the comments yet that's one of the things Counts & Mattson are "warning us" about. Seems they're not even reading their own writing or that of their readers. Well, I used to be saddened by the decline of "news" in this town but now I'm hoping someone will start a real news organization here. Ann Arbor deserves better than what we're getting from StopThinkingAnnArbordotcom.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 1:13 a.m.

Hear! Hear!

Rose Garden

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:17 p.m.

Dave Wilkinson: You suggested the gun shot could be self-inflicted. How could the victim get rid of the gun after he shot himself to death?


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 1:06 a.m.

If the shot was self inflicted, there would be powder burns on one or both of his hands. Furthermore, the angle of entry would be different than if someone else had shot him. The distance from muzzle to victim can also tell investigators a story of what happened. For example, it is hard to shoot yourself from across the room without touching the gun while it is firing.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

My condolences on the death of a fellow Laker, and Wolverine. Hopefully there will be a speedy resolution to this.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 9:37 p.m.

It is very unsettling and frightening that someone was shot and killed right in the middle of this neighborhood. It seems like if there's no gun the scene, someone must have shot him and left. It also seems like if people were home, someone would have heard that. Even .22's have a startling report indoors. If people were home and no one heard it, it seems like the shot was muffled somehow, which makes this all the more frightening. I hope this case is solved and closed VERY quickly. This is the kind of thing that needs to be solved completely with great speed to make citizens feel safe and to make it clear that this is not something people have a chance of doing and getting away with it. I am sorry for the young man and all his family and friends; murder is horrifying and shocking, and I can't imagine the ordeal they're going through now.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

If it was a medical type fraternity, it's a good chance no one was home. Residencies go July to July and many times they wind up sleeping in call rooms rather than go home.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 1:14 a.m.

It is called a 'silencer'. End of story.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 12:06 a.m.

We're still waiting on word of the "apparent homicide" of Julia Niswender. Remember her?


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 9:22 p.m.

Mary Sue Coleman must be relieved that this took place off campus.

Ann English

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

John, I think the word we're looking for is "jurisdiction." It took place outside of U-M's jurisdiction, but within the AAPD's jurisdiction.

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:10 p.m.

Here is her statement to the university community: I'll leave it for you to decide if the tragic death of a member of our community has left her feeling "relieved".


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

Good would be even more tragic to not be informed until next summer.

John Counts

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 9:50 p.m.

This is indeed off-campus, which is why it's an AAPD case. If it was on-campus, it would be handled by U-M police.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 9:36 p.m.

I don't think it's "off-campus," and if it is....I think School of Nursing is all of ONE block away.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 9:08 p.m.

My God.

Widow Wadman

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 9:08 p.m.

This is truly a tragic loss of life. My condolences to Lieutenant DeWolf's family, friends, and colleagues. This is a very minor point but I find the line that Lieutenant DeWolf was on active service confusing. This suggests to me a full-time commitment to the Air Force which is impossible when someone is a medical student. There simply aren't enough hours in the day. Was he possibly in the Air Force Reserves expecting a commission upon graduation from medical school?


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 9:44 p.m.

I have several friends in the HPSP program. They are active duty (IE they were issued EAD orders upon commissioning.)

John Counts

Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 1:46 a.m.

We attempted to dig into this all day, GoNavy. I spoke with several people from various offices within the Air Force organization attempting to get information. An official tonight (around 9 p.m. Friday) supplied me with the information that I was looking for, that DeWolf was a reserve officer in the Medical Services Corps of the United States Air Force serving as a medical student under the the military's Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP).The story above has been updated with that information. I'd like to thank you, Firefly, for providing even more detailed and personal information about what his service entailed.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 12:20 a.m.

Paul joined the Air Force when we were in college. He made an agreement with them that they would pay for his medical school, and in return when he finished his degree he would enlist in the military. He did boot camp & several weekends at training camps while in college. When we finished undergrad he was promoted to officer because he finished his college degree. I believe this is why he was still considered active, because he was serving the armed forces and educating himself for them.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 12:05 a.m.

Thankfully, given the extreme amount of information available, has chosen not to do some research on this particular point. Not that it even matters -


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : midnight

The Air Force was paying for his medical school and serve on active duty a certain number of days during school, during this time. Then there is commitment to full service after you finish


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 9:01 p.m.

Welp....a gunshot definitely rules out "natural causes." No undiagnosed heart condition or anything like that.

Ann English

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:24 p.m.

Right, Billy, no hereditary cause of death, as I previously suggested for a sudden, unexpected death.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

A reminder on top of John's and Kyle's from earlier today, we're still allowing comments at this time, but comments trying to make a political point out of crimes are subject for removal. Thank you for understanding the sensitivity of these situations.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 12:04 a.m.

You might as well just disable the comments and put a generic "RIP".


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 8:32 p.m.

Thanks guys

Cameron McLain

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 8:24 p.m.

Sad story. Nice to see we have 30 Junior AAPD officers/detectives commenting though.

John Counts

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 8:17 p.m.

To those inquiring about the Air Force connection, I have been on the phone with several military officials today attempting to get background information about Mr. DeWolf. None of them have mentioned that military officials would be investigating the incident. It is an Ann Arbor Police Department case at this time.

Kyle Feldscher

Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

JBK- That information came from police.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 1:11 a.m.

John - For starters, this guy was a reservist. He was NOT an active duty "butter bar". Yes, that is what they call 2nd Lieutenants. I was prior service for 4 years. The military would have NO interest in getting involved with this case. Someone (you or another reporter) should not have reported he was active duty. That is IMPOSSIBLE going to Med school. Bad reporting leads to bad speculation.............just sayin!


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 8:02 p.m.

Until we know who did this and why, almost everyone will be playing armchair detective to some degree. It's human nature. And there are good reasons to try to figure out what happened, since people in the community are not going to be feeling safe until the person who did it is in custody. Clearly, information is still being withheld. They must know whether the gun went off where he was found, in a building with plenty of other people close by.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 1:07 a.m.

It was a professional hit. the gunman used a silencer, got into the apartment, dropeed a slug in the guy and walked out. Did not touch his wallet or other belongings. this is not that hard to figure out!

John Counts

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

Police withhold information because it can hamper their investigation. And without having all the facts, it's not wise to speculate, which is why we ask readers to leave the investigating to the professionals. I agree curiosity is part of human nature, but to privately wonder is different than airing those theories in a public forum.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

You're right that the police are withholding some information. I wouldn't try to speculate on what that information is, though. Yes, he lived in an occupied building, but it's summer, and we don't know how many people were in the building. While it's possible someone heard the gun shots, it's also possible that they didn't. Wait and see.

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 7:49 p.m.

Had they fixed the time of death?


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 7:31 p.m.

Rest in peace Paul

Hugh Giariola

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 7:28 p.m.

Very sorry to hear of the loss of this airman and soon to be doctor. This is a tragedy.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 7:11 p.m.

John Counts ... Agree. Thank you for the updates provided and the discretion you've shown in reporting this tragic case.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 6:51 p.m.

Gunshot wound, that is really scary!


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:41 a.m.

The last time Ann Arbor had anything this scary was back in 1980 when a string of women were being killed by an unknown person. I believe they got the guy years later in Texas but I have not heard word back on this one.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:12 p.m.

How is murder by a single gunshot would any more scary then other methods of murdering someone? I think it would be scarier if it was a stabbing or murder by means of bludgeoning.

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:03 p.m.

I'm trying to think of the last time someone held up a bank, mowed down everyone at an ex-wife/girlfriend's place of employment, assaulted a mosque, terrorized a school, etc. with a rock... or even many rocks. I'm drawing a blank.

Usual Suspect

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 9 p.m.

But even more rocks.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

many guns in america so its not a surprise.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 6:46 p.m.

This would be military police jurisdiction if he was active duty i do believe right?


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 9:38 p.m.

It's under AAPD jurisdiction. I would imagine that the Air Force Office of Special Investigations is keeping in touch with them.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

The only time MPS have a say in this would be if it occurred on their property. Meaning their military posts. Remember Texas? That case is going to federal court under MPS jurisdiction. This is a local community crime and the local police will handle it under their laws and jurisdiction. Otherwise if it looks like a military crime? That is when they get involved. So for now? AAPD and our gum shoe detectives will be hard at work getting their man or woman.

Hugh Giariola

Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

No, MPs have no jurisdiction in Ann Arbor in a case such as this.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 12:11 a.m.

Inspector Gibbs is a fictional character. The military police do not have jurisdiction. This link should answer your questions.

Don Duck

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

Since he was an active duty office in the United States Air Force is this investigation widening to include military police? Just curious if any of those details have been released or discussed.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 9:40 p.m.

He was active duty in a delayed entry program that the military uses to train medical officers. AAPD has jurisdiction as the shooting did not happen on a military installation.

April Sunday

Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 2:31 a.m.

He is not active duty in the Air Force, instead a reservist. If he was active duty, the military would be investigating, not Ann Arbor Police.

John Counts

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 6:35 p.m.

This incident remains under investigation by police who are releasing information to the public when it is appropriate. I humbly ask all 'armchair detectives' to try and refrain from speculating about the tragic death of this young man.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 12:46 a.m.

a2cents...that is not how NEWS works. It's the same process it has always been, with any paper. Also, if they took your suggestion, then people like you would just complain that the news wasn't reporting on the important homicide that you heard occurred in A2.

Samuel Burns

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:58 p.m.

Thank you John. I often marvel at how difficult it must be to report on cases like this when there is such a vocal group of readers who want all the information immediately, even when it's not verified. You guys (unlike some other media outlets in the area) do a very good job of making sure that you aren't spreading false information in the rush to get a scoop. This is a sad, difficult case for all involved.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

"I humbly ask all 'armchair detectives' to try and refrain..." Good luck with that.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 9:11 p.m.

THANK you, John!


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

Thanks Kyle indicated earlier we need to be patient as the police agencies continue to investigate this horrific crime.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 7:04 p.m.

With all due respect, "Reporting" on an occurrence while providing little to no information is an invitation to "armchair detectives". Waiting until information has been obtained by law enforcement, before reporting on it, would more than likely quell the urge for people to try and make sense of the tragedy by speculating.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 6:46 p.m.

Fine job John, My only comment would be that his family find peace and that the person who committed this crime be brought to justice.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

The death of this high-functioning young man is a tragedy to our society as well as to his friends and family. We have real cause to hope that police investigators will find who did this and bring them to trial. BTW: no mention of whether the bullet was recovered: was it? Also no mention of whether or not a cartridge casing was found. Was one found? These are key parts of any gunshot death investigation: just an alert to any journalists attending this case.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:01 p.m.

Tru1Blue76 it is not your right to know what the police have or do not have. There is nothing in the Constitution that says that you are entitled to this information.

Samuel Burns

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

Tru2Blu76: There is absolutely no indication of any sort of cover up or conspiracy at this point. A young man has died, out of respect for him and for his family (and not to mention normal journalistic ethics) has a duty to avoid reporting unsubstantiated rumors and unconfirmed information. The information that the police investigators have released is very limited at this point, as is to be expected in any case of this kind. In the course of an investigation, often initial appearances are deceptive, so the police wait until all the evidence has been completely processed and analyzed before releasing details. I see no reason why your "need" to know what evidence has been collected outweighs the police investigators' need to conduct a thorough, careful investigation, and the need for Mr. DeWolf's family to be allowed to grieve without being surrounded by wild speculation, and the need for to follow journalistic ethics in reporting the case. Have a little patience, and the facts will become known in due course.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 7:31 p.m.

The sort of behavior that can be frequently observed in these forums is somewhat remarkable, especially in the wake of sensitive issues such as these. There will be plenty of time later in the process of this investigation to offer our undoubtedly priceless legal and practical advice to both the police and our local reporters, but it would seem to me that the appropriate response at this moment might be one slightly more sensitive than this community has been capable of modelling heretofore. Let's try to conduct ourselves like gentlepersons, to whatever degree that's possible. There has been more injury here than just the apparent damage to our own egos.

Jaime Magiera

Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 7:39 a.m.

Tru2Blu76, 1) Acknowledging that a particular evidence was collected at all can jepodize aspects of the investigation. Think this through just a little bit. If the perpetrator becomes aware of the police finding XYZ, they would know to cover up, dispose of, etc. things related to XYZ. It's not out of character at all for police to be mute about various aspects of a homicide investigation 2) Three reporters have asked folks to avoid playing armchair investigator. As such, we don't need every single fact right at this moment if it's going to jeopardize the investigation or unduly hurt those directly affected by this tragedy. None of those types of details affect public safety in this situation. 3) Why do you have to be so mean to people? Mr Counts is just trying to do his job while balancing investigation with respect for the process the police have set in motion and respect for those directly effected by the tragedy. This isn't a tribunal and there's a real human being on the other side of Mr. Counts' online presence.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 5:18 a.m.

Mr. Counts: I never asked for any specifics regarding forensic evidence (bullets, casings, etc): ALL I asked was whether or not such evidence had been found/collected. Frankly, you're just plain wrong in your answer: there's no way at all that the fact of finding something (which is fully expected and a normal part of such investigations) endangers the investigation. If anything, just saying the evidence of this kind has been found/collected is indication of a normal investigation. In other words: an indication of proper procedures being followed. So now that your "explanation" has been destroyed, what is the actual story behind this attempt to cover up/conceal normal investigative procedures? Did you just forget to ask or are the police being unnecessarily censorial? Sorry - but that's what you get for being superficially explanatory and talking down to another adult.

John Counts

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 9:48 p.m.

Police would not release specific information about bullets, casing, etc. That kind of specific information being released this early could hurt their investigation.

Dave Wilkinson

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

I am just discussing the information presented in the article. The article indicates that there were no signs of a struggle (the scene was orderly) nor was there a robbery. The fact that these elements were not present suggest that this may be self inflicted. But, as my comment notes, there was no gun at the scene. So, it does seem odd that someone would enter his home, shoot him, and leave without taking anything or there being any sort of struggle.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 7:49 p.m.

Well done, sleuths! We've certainly paid attention to details in our favorite crime show.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : midnight

Over 75% of murder victims know their attacker. Among young people it's even higher.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 8:49 p.m.

maybe if someone shut him then he had no chances to struggle ? guns go of fast and are unpredictably.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

Dave, there is a high probability he knew his killer. Not all arguments or fights lead to destruction on property or theft. Right now, it is way to soon to speculate exactly what happened. My condolences to the family and loved ones.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

Did you consider that the young man knew the attacker, was not afraid of and not expecting to be attacked? Therefore, no struggle.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

You get in to a verbal augment and somebody losses their cool and pulls out a gun. Does happen time to time.