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Posted on Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 9:40 a.m.

Man, 28, gunned down outside Pittsfield Township home

By Amalie Nash


Police officers from Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township survey the scene of a fatal shooting on Rockport Court in the Arbor Creek subdivision in Pittsfield Township this morning.

Lon Horwedel |

A 28-year-old man was gunned down outside a Pittsfield Township home early today as 20 children were waiting for the school bus a short distance away.

Responding police officers arrested the shooting suspect just outside the home on Rockport Court in the Arbor Creek subdivision, a gun still tucked in his waistband, police said.

Pittsfield Township Public Safety Director Matt Harshberger said police are still sorting out the details of the shooting, but he said it was not random.

"There was some sort of interaction between the two," Harshberger said. "We do not know all the details at this point and are interviewing multiple witnesses, but we're confident we have the only suspect in custody."

The victim of the shooting did not live at the home; the man under arrest lives there, Harshberger said. He said a handgun was used in the shooting.

Around 8:30 a.m., several people called 911 to report multiple shots fired near the driveway of the home, Harshberger said. Some family members also were inside the home at the time.

A Nissan Armada sat in the driveway of the home after the shooting with the driver's side door open. A body lay on the ground on the other side.

Jerylyn Holyszko said her children told her about the shooting.

"They just came running home and said there was shooting at the bus stop. My kids said he shot six times inside the car and called 911," Holyszko said.

The 28-year-old was declared dead at the scene, Harshberger said.

The suspect did not resist when officers approached him, Harshberger said.

The area around the home was cordoned off with police tape, and multiple police cars, as well as the Washtenaw County Medical Examiner's Office, are on the scene.

Harshberger said the case will be forwarded to Washtenaw County prosecutors tomorrow to review for criminal charges.

It was the first homicide in Pittsfield Township this year, police said.

Updated stories: • Posted 6:42 p.m. - Victim identified in fatal shooting near Pittsfield Township bus stop • Posted 12:05 p.m. - Witness recounts shooting near Pittsfield Township bus stop that killed 28-year-old man

Lee Higgins of contributed to this report.

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Paul the Malcontent

Fri, Dec 4, 2009 : 9:25 p.m.

Agree with Ricebrnr..."shot and killed" would have been less sensationalistic (this wasn't a gangster-style drive-by shooting, which may have warranted the phrase "gunned down").


Fri, Dec 4, 2009 : 8:14 p.m.

Then who came up with the headline? "gunned down" certainly has several connotations that were not reported but it certainly does grab one's attention doesn't it? Looks like Michigan's Castle Doctrine has come into play.

Paul the Malcontent

Fri, Dec 4, 2009 : 6:22 p.m.

From Merriam-Webster Online ( Victim, noun, one that is acted on and usually adversely affected by a force or agent. Regardless of the motivation behind the shooting, Mr. Rajchel clearly fits the definition of "victim." Whether you feel he was an "innocent" or "deserving" victim is your prerogative; based on subsequent updates, it appears likely that self-defense was the reason for the shooting, and that Mr. Farha was at least a potential victim.


Fri, Dec 4, 2009 : noon

Amalie- How can you determine the 'victim' in this case when it is not yet resolved? What if this ends up being a clear case of self defense? Your article is written to show the shooter as someone who has committed a crime, when in fact he may not have. That is poor journalism and reflects badly upon the subjects of the story. Perhaps wait until the facts are released before deciding who was at fault next time?


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 10:46 p.m.

Fitz- not sure which officer you are talking to, but i have talked to several and have never been told that. They are divided by area each shift with at least one as a rover so that coverage can be obtaine, including the northeast. You never did answer the question if you would prefer to be patrolled by state police or even the county. No thanks on my end- I think the department does a good job with the resources they have. It gets really old when people are constantly negative and can never recogonize good work like the way this scene was handled today. Again kudos to our police department for doing a thankless job and dealing with negative people like fitz.

News Watcher

Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 8:36 p.m.

Well, this report was a whole lot of nothing. At least the Detroit paper gives some more info, like the fact that the suspect's 3 young children were at home when their father killed the victim, and that the suspect actually did something heroic -- saved a baby from a dumpster -- on Nov. 20. Don't remember hearing ANYTHING about that on Hopefully, when more details unfold we'll have a brand-new article to read, vs. just another update.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 6:55 p.m.

It's a sad day when this sort of violent crime happens in our town. As for police, we see a squad car go by our home maybe every other year or so, but nobody complains because there is virtually no crime in our neighborhood. If you follow the crime map in the Observer you'll notice that certain areas rarely have crime. And even if the police were actively patrolling that very neighborhood at that very time, I doubt the shooting would have been thwarted. The whole occurrence lasted barely moments. And, so, Mr Fitzpatrick, I find your ascerbic rejoinder both tasteless and out of place. Thoughts and prayers to both of the families affected.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 5:59 p.m.

facy is that its a matter of resourses.Pittsfield has to devote its officers to areas that are more problematic ie.. between carpenter and golside.( they're all over the place ) This happened a very nice area with little crime that does'nt require as much attention.I live in Ypsi twp where nothing much ever happens ( yes Ypsi twp )and we never see the sheriff, because they have to deal with areas with high crime.I know A2 does'nt like speculations but it obviously was not a random act


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 4:43 p.m.

The disparity in policing of certain portions of the township in comparison to others can most likely be explained by fiscal and societal reasons.

The Grinch

Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 3:49 p.m.

goblue7: Yes, really. Aside from the fact that the only time I see Pittsfield police in Boulder Ridge, Hawthorne Ridge, or Arbor Ridge subs is AFTER there has been a problem, Pittsfield Twp. polices officers have told me that the NW portion of the township is not a priority of the department. So, whatever you may have seen, I'll take police officers' word on the matter.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 2:58 p.m.

Wayne, Washtenaw, whatever it takes!


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 2:31 p.m.

Barb, I find it interesting that the detnews article says Pittsfield police are forwarding information to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office to see if charges should be filed. Your stock is rising


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 2:15 p.m.

More info (although not a lot) from DetNews:


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 2:09 p.m.

Not to mention tainting a jury pool with unfounded facts and respect for the families involved.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 2:05 p.m.

djm, I think they're trying to have stories like these maintain a higher standard of journalism than you'd expect on a blog, where anything goes, including libel and slander, sometimes. This is a serious story, and the facts are out there to be uncovered, not to be speculated upon. Let someone devote some time to uncovering the real facts before we start putting a bunch of unconfirmed nonsense into circulation.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 1:52 p.m.

really Fitzpatrick? I see officers all the time in the Northwest corner. Would you prefer State Police that only come when called from an hour away? I think we have the best police force around. Kudos to their quick response and handling of the situation.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 1:52 p.m.

@donderop: The description under the photo, which is before the article even starts, clearly says "fatal shooting".


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 1:50 p.m.

"Gunned down" sure doesn't mean, "I think I'll go for a walk!"


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 1:45 p.m.

why are comments speculating on a motive removed? Isn't the blog all about opinion and conjecture on the respondees interpretation of the information in the article?


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 1:43 p.m.

I guess "gunned down" means killed. We don't learn the victim is dead until the 10th paragraph. Hooray for vernacular.

Richard C

Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 1:34 p.m.

"not to bright"? How about not "too" bright.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 12:57 p.m.

My kid was one of the those waiting for school bus across the street and heard the shots.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 12:37 p.m.

Yes, I know it was Lawton but Slauson is the only school who has sent out a blurb. Lawton feeds into Slauson.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 12:36 p.m.

Not Slauson, but Lawton Elementary. The Lawton bus picks up around 8:30am. Kids most definitely heard the shots.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 12:31 p.m.

An email communication from Slauson has indicated that kids on buses did not witness this. It sounds as if just those kids who were waiting were unfortunate enough to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Pete Bigelow

Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 12:04 p.m.

A comment has been removed from this thread because it speculated on the motives for the shooting.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 11:51 a.m.

Okay crimes do happen in Ann Arbor. Pittsfield Township is not Ypsilanti. I swear some people are just not to bright.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 11:43 a.m.

"Slow down folks, have common sense, consideration, and respect for those around you." Completely agree.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 11:24 a.m.

Wow... It gets close to Christmas time, and people already begin going spaztic with violence. Simply revolting!! People just do not slow down, or cannot slow down to think of how the chain reaction of something one does will affect many, many other's around them. Society is blamed for the people not thinking, or so it would seem, Society pushes more and more on the people.. yet.. in the same breath, the people are to blame for sucking up to a fast moving, fast paced life.. Slow down folks, have common sense, consideration, and respect for those around you.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 11:19 a.m.

This is across the street from my parents house. pretty crazy

The Grinch

Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 11:18 a.m.

Gee, do you think that this might mean that the Pittsfield Twp police might quit ignoring the NW corner of the Twp?


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 11:10 a.m.

Was the school bus there as the shooting happened or did the school bus go past the scene? Just wondering how to handle this with my son whose bus goes through the neighborhood on his way to school...


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 11:03 a.m.

Sadly, I believe that there is typically one or two homicides in Ann Arbor each year. I don't think it's fair to call this an "urban" crime. It's a crime and someone is dead. So unfortunate.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 10:58 a.m.

Is it just me, or has urban crime finally landed in A2..My heart goes out to the family of the victim and the children who witnessed this horrific crime.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 10:48 a.m.

If that picture is accurate and of the actual incident, that looks more like an SUV than a van, as the story claims.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 10:43 a.m.

Unbelievable.. Neighborhood is family oriented with many children.. I believe it is physically located in Pittsfield Twp, with an Ann Arbor mailing address, and within the Ann Arbor Public School District.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 10:17 a.m.

This is a terrible thing to have happen in our community. I am saddened that a bus full of children had to witness this. My condolences to the family of the victim. I am glad the shooter was caught on the scene and I am sure the reasons for this shooting will come out soon.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 10:04 a.m.

This incident happened over behind Target off of Ann Arbor-Saline Rd, not even close to Ypsi. Pittsfield Twp spans from the Golfside Rd area all the way over to Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. I imagine the related articles feature is automated to pick up keywords from other articles and not an intentional dig at Ypsi.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 10:02 a.m.

hypsi, I doubt the related articles are hand-picked. They're probably generated based on matching tags, (and I'm sure other factors too.)


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 9:57 a.m.

What a horrible thing and those poor kids, people do really suck. On a further note: Is Pitsfield Township considered/linked with Ypsilanti? How about some crime links connecting Ann Arbor in the related articles? Or other Pittsfield Township crimes in the related articles... INSTEAD of once again, all crimes in Ypsi, which further promote the idea that only crime happens in Ypsilanti and no where else?


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 9:48 a.m.

Good job in getting this story out there! I think this is a good example of how the power of the internet can improve new distribution rather than hinder it.