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Posted on Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 3:56 p.m.

Police: Man shot and killed by trooper was involved in feud with Northville Township man

By John Counts


Eighteen-year-old Gabe Stevenson drove this pickup truck into a house before being shot dead by police Tuesday morning.

John Counts |


Gabriel Stevenson

Huron High School 2011 yearbook

Gabriel Stevenson was attempting to start a fire for the third time in the past three months at the home of an 18-year-old Northville Township man when police intervened, chased him for seven miles and shot him dead in Salem Township, police said Thursday.

The feud started over the summer when there was an incident between Stevenson and the Northville Township man in Ypsilanti, said John Werth, the township's director of public safety.

"There was an altercation that took place between the two of them," he said.

Drugs may have played a part, according to a release from police. A search warrant executed at Stevenson's Ypsilanti apartment yielded additional ammunition, marijuana and other "items associated with the distribution of marijuana," the release stated.

Werth said Stevenson is suspected of attempting to start fires at the home where the 18-year-old lived with his parents in the area of 8660 Napier Road. Attempted arsons in that general vicinity on Dec. 2 and Dec. 9 already had Northville Township police officers on alert early Tuesday morning when they noticed a suspicious vehicle parked on Napier north of Six Mile Road.

The 1993 Red Ford Ranger pickup was empty and had a plastic bag covering the license plate, Werth stated in the release.

Officers who checked it out could "smell gasoline in the (pickup)," Werth said. Police soon saw a vehicle on fire in a nearby driveway and notified the fire department.

Police spotted the red Ford pickup traveling west on Six Mile Road just west of Napier. Northville police pulled Stevenson over. He was the only one inside the pickup.

As officers ordered Stevenson out of the vehicle, "the driver began searching for something in the vehicle. The driver then turned and fired at officers, striking one of the patrol vehicles," according to the release.

Stevenson fled as officers returned fire. Northville Township police and later the Michigan State Police gave chase. Eventually, Stevenson lost control of the car and crashed into a home in the 7900 block of Dixboro Road, where Six Mile takes a jog to the north before continuing on west.

Stevenson attempted to break into the home by breaking a window, but was confronted by police.

"The suspect was given multiple instructions to surrender," Werth stated in the release. "Officers fired four less-lethal rounds at the suspect, striking him."

Police said he advanced toward officers and lunged with a knife. A Michigan State Police trooper fired one shot and killed Stevenson.

Erica Brooks, who went to Huron High School with Stevenson, saw Stevenson last Friday after not seeing him for about six or seven months and said he “seemed completely different,” she wrote in an email to

“He didn’t talk much and wouldn’t make much eye contact with me,” she wrote. “It was almost like he wasn’t really there. (He) … seemed a little paranoid also; he kept looking around.”

Brooks said she will always remember Stevenson how she knew him in high school, as a quiet kid.

“He’ll always be in my heart,” she said.

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



Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

Sure, no right thinking officers wants to kill someone, especially a messed up teenager, but the use of "less-lethal" rounds reminds me of the US Border Agent who was firing bean bag rounds at a Mexican drug runner who returned fire with "actual" bullets, killing the man. What if this young perp had wheeled around with his pistol and hit or killed one of the police? At that point, the merciful intent of the police would be a forgotten issue and there would be a dead or wounded officer. Better to use lethal force with someone who has already shown homicidal intent toward law officers.

John Counts

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 11:23 a.m.

A video of the police chase is now available here:


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 8:07 a.m.

For those of you who think Marijuana is a harmless drug, re-read this article. Classic symptoms of chronic Marijuana use - Paranoia. Don't believe me -- check with the UM Depression Center -- that is, if you really want to know.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

Nice. Throw some information out there steeped in inaccuracies and couple it with a big name like The U.

Blue Marker

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

I've got a movie I think you should see. It was made in the 30's so it's in black and white. But it clearly shows the evils of marijuana (which you don't have to capitalize by the way).


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 4:14 a.m.

I wonder if he was on something heavier than marijuana if he with-stood four "non-lethal" rounds and was still psychotic enough to attack police with a knife... Any information available on the type of rounds used? I'd imagine bean bags, but suppose it could have been a taser? IF the other Northville Township man was involved in drugs as well, he HOPEFULLY sees the destruction drugs can bring into peoples lives and the lives of their loved ones!


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:06 a.m.

Thanks for the update!

John Counts

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

Northville police told me they were indeed rubber bullets. They are classified by law enforcement agencies as non-lethal.

Reverend Bubba X

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

There is no such thing as non-lethal firearm rounds. Just less somewhat less dangerous. AA.ocm, please do some technical research before publishing such misconceptions.

John Counts

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

Hi diagbum: I'm pretty sure they were rubber bullets. I'm checking with Northville Township police on this.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 1:35 a.m.

A search warrant executed at Stevenson's Ypsilanti apartment yielded additional ammunition, marijuana and other "items associated with the distribution of marijuana," Should have just gone the "caregiver" route.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 7:51 p.m.

You gotta keep reading, there clownfish. If you can not get distracted before the bottom of my response, I think I spelled it out for you. I even numbered them. Stay with me here.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

you did not list "items associated with the distribution of marijuana," you listed marijuana. The police use this grab bag of "items" to increase charges. Just because someone has a box of plastic bags does not mean they are intent upon distribution.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 6:39 p.m.

I'm going to assume that marijuana is, wait for it........marijuana. I'm going to assume ammunition is, wait for it........ ammunition. As far as the rest of it goes, you seem to know more about required equipment for distribution than I do, but I'll just take the cops word for it since: 1. Their actions have been beyond reproach in this incident to date 2. It really makes no difference to justify what the cops did. This kid had it coming after shooting at the cops, so there is no reason for the cops to make it up.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Can you tell us what those items are? If you have a box of Glad baggies in your hose, that is an "item associated with the distribution of marijuana," same with any kind of scale, scissors or many other normal domestic products.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 12:15 a.m.

Go on the Freeport and see some of the video


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 11:26 p.m.

I keep reading all these comments about mental health issues, has his mental health records been released and I just missed it? Or is it possibly he was just a drug dealer trying to collect a debt?


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 10:48 p.m.

Hi John, thank you for the update. A question or two if i may? Is there any reason to believe he was under the influence of anything? Also, do we know where the "less lethal" rounds struck his person? Thank you!

John Counts

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

I asked state police at the scene whether they thought drugs were involved, but they did not have an answer. I'm guessing only a toxicology report could answer that question. I'm pretty sure the "less lethal" rounds were rubber bullets, though I'm not sure where they struck Stevenson. I'm checking with Northville Township police on this.


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 10:47 p.m.

He was the kid who could be saved by LOVE. The ones who are un-able to be saved by LOVE, they can not pay basket ball in high school team, they can get driver's licenses.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 2:41 a.m.

UtresspassM, put down the Chicken Soup books before you hurt somebody.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 12:43 a.m.

Ok Skyjockey43, I'm really heading for the fridge for that beer now. LOL


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 12:24 a.m.

He was the kid who could be saved by tricolloidal malpropolistic abforesis. But for malichronic seprecants, the abfornicial salifcation could only achieve nanoplasmoidic phebolistition. But they can get driver's licenses.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 12:24 a.m.

You are the poster who could be saved by GRAMMAR.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 12:08 a.m.

a2citizen, thanks for the tip.


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 11:29 p.m.

WalkingJoe, go drink a few beers and come back and re-read the post.


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 11:18 p.m.



Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 11:02 p.m.

Can someone please explain this? Maybe I'm the only one who can't understand this comment.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 10:21 p.m.

What a terrible situation for everyone involved! I don't know if I could live with myself if I killed a young man like that even though I can see the officers had little choice. It sounds like the kid was out of control. Thank goodness no one else was hurt. My condolences to his family though who must be absolutely heartbroken and confused. I don't want to speculate about Stevenson's mental state but it does seem like there is a possibility of a serious mental illness being involved. He is the right age for the beginning of symptoms of certain illnesses like schizophrenia. I wouldn't blame the drugs if what they found was marijuana. It is VERY common for people to self medicate when they first develop symptoms. It might seem like it is the drugs causing the impaired mental state but actually it is the impaired mental state that causes the drug use.

Liss Miller

Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 10:46 p.m.

Exactly my thought. Great sympathy to his parents. Sad mental health services are not easily available.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

"The suspect was given multiple instructions to surrender... Officers fired four less-lethal rounds... Police said he advanced toward officers and lunged with a knife." Hopefully this will satisfy all the cop-haters around here.

Dr. Fate

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

The police should have those batarangs that wrap rope around the villain's legs. Or maybe trick arrows with boxing gloves on them. Nothing less will satisfy some people it seems.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

I keep waiting for someone to tell us how overpaid these cops are, why does that meme disappear so rapidly?


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 5:44 a.m.

Ummm who says you can't walk, run or lunge after a less-lethal round?

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 2:42 a.m.

... and balloon animals.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 1:39 a.m.

Evidently not. I guess they should have continued throwing bean bags and beer pong balls at him until he succumbed to a laughing fit.


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 11:22 p.m.

OK ffe, do you know the homeowner? Have you talked to him? Or is your info third hand off someone's Facebook post?


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 10:54 p.m.

Except the man that lives in the house has another version. Where were these four less lethal rounds ? Not in the legs or he couldn't have lunged.


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 9:36 p.m.

The officers used remarkable restraint, training, and professionalism in dealing with this situation. From reading the article, it is obvious the police had run out of options and Stevenson was out of control.

John of Saline

Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

Using non-lethal force after already having been shot at is remarkable.


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 9:08 p.m.

This whole incident is such a shame. I feel for the young man's family, the officers involved, and all of the people that knew there was a problem with no way of having to deal with it. I have heard all too often that "until they break a law no one can forcibly be treated for mental health issues."


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

Yes, you was in a previous article. Very well put, action.


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 10:55 p.m.

He was a drug dealer collecting a debt, did I miss the part about mental health issues?