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Posted on Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 6 p.m.

Police: Shots fired at secluded area used for target practice source of Dexter schools lockdowns

By Danielle Arndt

Previous coverage: Dexter schools put on lockdown after reports of shots fired

Deputies with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office have determined the source of the reported gunshots and firecrackers disrupting Dexter Community Schools.

After suspicious noises that were thought to be gunshots were reported Tuesday afternoon, the Dexter school district was placed on lockdown for the second time since last week Wednesday.


Students at a Dexter elementary school were late getting home last week after fireworks, thought to be gunshots, locked down the school and delayed buses.

While searching in the vicinity of Walkabout Creek Apartments where the noises were heard, deputies located shell casings in a “secluded area” near the complex, said spokesman Derrick Jackson in a statement.

Jackson said an individual was identified and questioned. Deputies were able to confirm that the area was being used for target practice and for shooting off fireworks.

Due to the location of the target practice, students from the schools were not in any immediate danger, Jackson wrote.

He said while no evidence was discovered following last week’s incident, today’s investigation has led the Sheriff’s Office to believe the two incidents were related.

It is against the law to discharge a firearm within the village of Dexter’s boundaries, Jackson said, adding deputies will continue to patrol the area to ensure no other illegal target practice is taking place.

Staff reporter Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 2:18 a.m.

The "secluded area" the article is referring to happens to be the Dexter Village's Community Garden. It is extremely unfortunate that Walkabout Creek is even mentioned in this article. Over 400 residents of Dexter Village live here, including children and families. The population composition at Walkabout Creek is the same found in the Village, and we're great, caring people. Maybe the Village needs to patrol it's own land and take appropriate action to eliminate any issues going on over there. Too bad did not get its facts straight. The target practice happened on Village property, not Walkabout Creek. I think should see what the Village is doing about this.


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 10:39 p.m.

Mikey ... in what way? Lived there for a while when our home was being built. Other than a drunken young man visiting an ex girlfriend making a lot of noise...never had any problems. That was over 10 years maybe times have changed?


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 6:10 p.m.

Wow I live there and have firearms myself. THAT WOULD BE THE LAST PLACE I WOULD "TARGET" SHOOT! Hey did all your buddies at the apartment think you were cool? Did you pick up any chicks with your new found cooldumb? Cause when my grandma heard the gun shots and almost had a hard attack thinking there was someone being shot nearby, right so why are people reacting to this harmful little thing!? But hey when the sherriff can drive down baker rd, during school time doing at least 50 with no lights or sirens usually when ever they are on it.....


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

Harland had a lock down. Dexter had a lock down. And now Univ of Pittsburgh is on lock down. What is this world coming to?


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 10:43 p.m.

Heartland had more than a was cancelled for the day. Also, target practice anywhere near Walkabout Creek is ignorant...not only does it endanger the residents there, there are two elementary schools..a middle school and the bus hub in very close proximity.


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 10:23 p.m.

So, prey tell, what should we call it? Abandon all hope ye who enter here?


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

Coming to a world that over uses the phrase "Lock Down." I can't wait till it hits the road as cool speak like Amazing almost has. Good grief.


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

Wow, as a Dexter Parent let me say bravo to the sheriff office and BRAVO to the schools who had the children's safety first in mind and "locked-down" the school. The thing that you can't read from the story is that the shots could be heard on the playground. Last week I heard the shots as I was driving to pick-up my kids (Dan-Hoey Rd) It was loud! The fact that the shots and/or fireworks were being set of twice now at the end of the school day is a HUGE issue. No one is trying to take away anyone's rights and the issue is NOT about where people are allowed to practice shooting. Dexter Community Schools is watching out for our children and keeping them SAFE. The Washtenaw County Sheriff Officers were investigating the sounds and their presence and help was welcome. Thanks for discovering the sound and hopefully the culprit has been informed that this actions were foolish and could have caused harm.


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

Seems kind of silly that they would lock down the entire school system because of suspected gunshots in a residential area at least a quarter of a mile away from any school property.


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

I know exactly where it is, I just think it's silly. It's a little less silly than I thought, given it was only 5-10 minutes, but still. I'm guess I'm just more sad that this is what it's come to than anything else. The law isn't that you can't target practice across from a school, it's that you can't discharge a firearm within the limits of the Village of Dexter (which does make sense). I'm not sure where the "Village of Dexter" limits are vs. just Dexter but surely there are properties within a mile or two of the schools where you can, in fact, discharge a firearm (especially by the high school).


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

walkabout creek is right across the street from the school campus. i could hear the shots as i was sitting in my car waiting to get my son after school at wylie. maybe some think it was an overraction, maybe some think it's a silly law to not allow target practice across the street from a school, but the timing of both incidents was 10 minutes before school got out, which is kind of scary, so i am grateful that the administrators erred on the side of caution with a 5-10 minute lockdown and that the police located the source.

Dog Guy

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 4:24 a.m.

Students used to practice .22 rifle and hold matches on the range in the basement of Ann Arbor High School before it was renamed Pioneer. Now even just the sound of shooting provokes a hissy fit. O tempora, O mores!


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 3:30 a.m.

"It is against the law to discharge a firearm within the village of Dexter's boundaries, Jackson said" -- Well, except for those places which have PERMITS to conduct target practice. Such town ordinances and the way they're presented in the press and to the public through law enforcement "spokespersons" are ridiculous. Virtually all towns have such ordinances - and they ARE "understandable" in terms of limiting the chance that improper, unsafe discharge of guns might kill or injure. But the failure to mention all the facts (like existing licensed shooting facilities) is just laxity. Another (worse) example in the same category: the 1000 foot radius ban on carrying firearms "near" schools. Try drawing a 1000 ft. radius (circular) area on a map around any school in Ann Arbor and you'll quickly see that it's literally impossible for those with CPLs to obey this provision of the law. First of all because NO signs are ever posted anywhere in the state and second of all because the 'invisible zone' covers PARTS OF streets and buildings (including houses with yards). Adding: Certain "categories" of individuals are EXEMPT, such as various types of law enforcement officers, retired law enforcement officers, judges and retired judges, and licensed private investigators. There are various proposals pending in the legislature to add to this list of people with special self-defense privileges that go beyond the self-defense that is allowed to ordinary citizens. - BUT, fortunately the Michigan Senate is working on a bill to eliminate pistol free zones entirely - because they're unenforceable but also unconstitutional both by U.S. and Michigan constitutional provisions.

Some Guy in A2

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

There is no such thing as a 1000 ft radius ban on firearms near schools in Michigan. For CPL holders, you are allowed on school property with a firearm IF in your car (,4643,7-123-1591_3503_4654-10947--,00.html) For non-CPL holders, you simply aren't allowed on school property (MCL 750.237a - Anyone who is otherwise lawfully carrying or using a firearm can drive, walk, or fly right past a school without problem. Also, it is the STATE that defines the ban on discharging a firearm within the boundaries of a municipality (with certain exemptions), not the respective municipalities. In Michigan, there are local preemption laws for firearms that basically say the localities can't make up their own rules--state law trumps all and any lower governance rule is unenforceable.


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 2:24 a.m.

that apartment complex houses a select group of people ......


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 12:17 a.m.

Relax Dexter Parent. No they were not shotgun shells. I'm not a "Dexter parent", or even a resident of Dexter but know that Walkabout Creek is at the corner of Hoey and Baker Rd. Apparently the "distance from the schools" was such that the police didn't determine anyone was in danger. Did you even read the article? Or just the headline.

Kitty O'Brien

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 1:33 a.m.

I read the above article and the advisory sent out from the sheriff which read: Shots fired in Dexter, schools put on lock down, mystery solved! Today, at approximately 2:30pm the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office received a call of shots fired in the area of Walkabout Creek in the Village of Dexter. For precautionary reasons and due to the location of the suspected gun shots the area schools were locked down. While searching, deputies located shell casings in a secluded area near Walkabout Creek. It appears that someone had been using the area for target practice. An individual from the area was later identified and questioned. It was confirmed that the area has been used for fireworks and target practice. It should be noted that due to the location students from area schools were not in any immediate danger. This follows a similar incident last Wednesday (April 18, 2012) when staff at a local school reported hearing gun shots. Although no evidence was discovered at the time we do believe that the two incidents are related. Discharging of a firearm within the Village boundaries is prohibited. Deputies will continue to patrol this area to ensure that no other illegal target practice is taking place. If you know of anyone utilizing this area to discharge a weapon or fireworks please inform them of the Village ordinance and contact the Sheriff's Office directly.


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

That law is lame. The Man is trying to take our rights away!


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

"It is against the law to discharge a fireman within the village of Dexter's boundaries."


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 2:11 p.m.

By the way... that last was said in an Irish brogue. ;^)


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

Thanks for me laugh for the day! Another great job by the proofreading staff at


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 2:30 a.m.

Discharging a fireman....must resist...temptation

Danielle Arndt

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 2:18 a.m.

Thanks for pointing out the typo, Santiago. It has been corrected.


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 1:58 a.m.

They're discharging firemen in addition to firearms?

Kitty O'Brien

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 11:49 p.m.

As a Dexter parent I wonder if the shells found were shotgun shells. Also the distance of the secluded area from the school(s). Was the secluded area within the village? Anyone know?

Kitty O'Brien

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 1:22 a.m.

Maybe I should have added "just" shotgun shells. The other option would be .22, right Drew? Do BB guns have shell casings?

Laura Jones

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 12:55 a.m.

Apparently it was at Walkabout Creek and the older farm area. Yes, it's in the Village. Sounds like the police did a great job.


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 12:45 a.m.

Why would it matter what kind of shells they were? At least shotgun load would travel the shortest distance, meaning a stray round hitting the school would be the most unlikely.