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Posted on Fri, Dec 4, 2009 : 1:24 p.m.

Pittsfield Township homeowner being released as police investigate whether shooting was self-defense

By Amalie Nash

Updated story: Pittsfield Township police say evidence points to self-defense; man who was shot was armed

A Pittsfield Township man arrested following a fatal shooting outside his home Wednesday is being released today without charges as police investigate whether the shooting was self-defense.

Washtenaw County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Burke said the prosecutor's office has asked detectives to continue investigating before a decision is made on any possible criminal charges. He said that investigation would include more witness interviews, autopsy reports and other information.

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The shooting took place early Wednesday on Rockport Court in the Arbor Creek subdivision.

Adham Mofiid Abu Farha, 34, was arrested Wednesday morning after a shooting that killed Michael Robert Rajchel, 28, of Van Buren Township.

Pittsfield Public Safety Director Matt Harshberger said at 1:20 p.m. today that police are investigating whether the shooting was in self-defense. He declined to immediately provide further details about what happened that morning or what Farha told police.

Harshberger said additional details may be released this afternoon.

The shooting took place inside a car in Farha's driveway on Rockport Court in the Arbor Creek subdivision at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. About 20 students were waiting for the school bus across the street.

A witness earlier told she saw two men shake hands in the driveway before multiple shots were fired minutes later.

Burke declined to discuss the reason for today's decision or any other aspects of the investigation.



Mon, Dec 7, 2009 : 7:35 p.m.

Yes please, follow up and verify the second hand account of the previous poster's relative. We have all been eagerly awaiting the facts. As for the children being near, that fact is unfortunate but no one but the target was injured. We who try to avoid trouble don't often get to choose the time and place where our battles may occur. That they may occur in proximity to innocents is not lost on CPL/Firearms owners. That we do not often get to choose the time and place often means we don't get to call the police before hand either. As I posted before, to do so requires psychic powers that we do not have. You might as well be asking why the victims in the other stories in this section don't call the police before they become victims. That the homeowner has a CPL, tells us he has had training which would explain some things that you find indicate guilt or recklessness. 1) Know your target and what is beyond. This might explain why no one else was hit, and why their have been no mention of misses hitting anywhere else. CPL holders are WELL aware of the consequence of unintentional hits. 2) His reported calm nature can be either shock or good training. All CPL holders are trained what to in the aftermath of a defensive shooting. His reported actions as reported are textbook examples of such. After a shooting, scan for any additional threats, if none holster your firearm, call the police, explain in very short statements, that you were in fear of your life, who the perpetrator was, any witnesses and then shut up until your lawyer appears. Prepare to be arrested until all is sorted. Still waiting to draw firm conclusions until the "real" story comes out. In the meantime I'll only speculate based on what has been reported.


Mon, Dec 7, 2009 : 4:10 p.m.

Just curious, do any of you that have made posts live in the area of the shooting? Because I have a relative that does, and considering that I have heard the whole REAL story I am surprised that this shooter was let go so quickly, regardless of the castle issue. Granted, I don't know why he shot the man in the car, but I do know, for a fact and Ann is more then welcome to contact me to verify, that there were nearly 3 dozen children boarding a bus VERY NEAR BY who could have been put in harms way based on his actions and the fact that no one, including the shooter, called the police until AFTER the incident concluded. Not to mention the dozen or so reports of the 'calm nature' of the shooter both before and after the shooting. His quick release is of concern to me and should be to others. Then again, only in Ann Arbor!


Sun, Dec 6, 2009 : 11:02 a.m.

@PATA, You are correct I took curtilage by the colloquial deffinition of the boundaries of one's property which would include your driveway. Curtilage Definition - Noun [Anglo-French curtillage enclosed land belonging to a house, kitchen garden, from Old French cortillage kitchen garden, from cortil garden, ultimately from Latin cohort- cohors farmyard] : the area surrounding and associated with a home The curtilage of a house is included in the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. Pronunciation'k&rt-l-ij However upon further investigation of Michigan's specific legal definitions, I stand corrected, thank you. That being said however, legally defending yourself in your driveway is still covered by the provisions of Michigan's Self Defense Act 309 of 2006 which I should have cited instead. Sources:


Sat, Dec 5, 2009 : 4:52 p.m.

@Ricebrnr: IANAL, but my understanding of Castle Law is that it applies only inside your home or its "curtilage". See You might want to read that before you shoot someone in your driveway.


Fri, Dec 4, 2009 : 10:24 p.m.

Hit any key on your computer 6 times. How fast was that? You shoot to stop the threat. You don't stop to count. As for the dead man's side of the story, the fact that Michigan's Castle Law is in effect and allowed the release while the investigation is ongoing should provide some clues. All else will have to wait until the investigation is over.


Fri, Dec 4, 2009 : 6:20 p.m.

The victim was shot SIX TIMES!. Doesn't sound like self defense to me. Too bad we'll never hear the dead man's side of the story.


Fri, Dec 4, 2009 : 2:29 p.m.

I don't know any more details of this story than anyone else. But if someone confronts me in my home while my spouse and young children are inside and I feel threatened or in danger, I too will protect myself and family. I wait to hear more news about this incident.


Fri, Dec 4, 2009 : 2:23 p.m.

so, I can assume that any comments published will only be those that you people assume are appropriate? Makes me wonder if the factual reporting follows in the same vein as well, reporting only what you people decide appropriate. Not objective at all.


Fri, Dec 4, 2009 : 2:22 p.m.

I am confident the legal system will get to the bottom of this.


Fri, Dec 4, 2009 : 2:04 p.m.

Well this would be a nice twist, to an awful event. I do hope for the sake of the neighbourhood that does turn out to be a case of self defence. I suppose that in time we will all find out.