Shooting at wading pool in suburban Detroit leaves 9 injured, including 2 children: NPR

Officials from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, the Rochester Hills Fire Department and other jurisdictions secure the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

Katy Kildee/AP/Detroit News

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Katy Kildee/AP/Detroit News

ROCHESTER HILLS, Michigan. — Nine people were injured, including two young children and their mother, after a shooter opened fire at a wading pool in a Detroit suburb where families gathered to escape the summer heat Saturday. Law enforcement followed a suspect to a home, where the man died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

An 8-year-old boy was shot in the head and is in critical condition Saturday evening, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said at a news conference. The boy’s mother was also in critical condition after being injured in the abdomen and leg, and his 4-year-old brother was in stable condition with a leg injury.

Authorities initially said they believed at least 10 people were shot and injured in the shooting in Rochester Hills, but that number was revised after checking with area hospitals.

The other six victims, all aged 30 or older, were in stable condition, Bouchard said. They included a husband and wife couple and a 78-year-old man.

The shooting happened shortly after 5 p.m. in a city park that includes a recreation area with a non-slip surface where people can turn on water jets and fountains to play in the fountain. Bouchard said the attack appeared to be random, with the shooter heading toward the park, walking to the splash pad and firing up to 28 times, stopping several times to reload.

At least one witness reported that the shooter appeared to use two handguns during the attack, but that has not yet been confirmed, the sheriff said.

In the chaos, “people were falling, getting hit, trying to run,” Bouchard said. “Terrible things that all of us, unfortunately, in our law enforcement activities, have seen far too much of.”

The shooter was “apparently in no hurry.” I just calmly walked back to his car,” the sheriff said.

Police heard the 911 call reporting the shooting as soon as they arrived, Bouchard said, because the agency uses a service that simultaneously sends emergency calls to first responders. A police officer arrived on the scene within two minutes, he said.

Bouchard said the first deputies who arrived immediately began providing first aid, including applying tourniquets. Officers were also able to quickly find a likely address, and a car matching the suspect’s was located at the residence.

Officers surrounded the home and attempted to make contact with the suspect inside, to no avail, Bouchard said. They sent a drone inside the house then entered to find the suspect dead.

Another weapon was found inside. The suspect’s quick containment may have avoided a “second chapter” of the shooting, the sheriff said, displaying a photo of a semi-automatic rifle on a table inside the home.

The suspect did not live in Rochester Hills and investigators do not yet know why he went to the splash pad, according to Bouchard.

Authorities have not released the man’s name. Bouchard described him as a 42-year-old white man and said authorities believed he lived with his mother. The man’s mother was notified, Bouchard said.

“As for ‘why,’ I don’t know,” Bouchard said of the shooter’s motive.

At the spray area, authorities found a handgun, three empty magazines and 28 spent shell casings. At the home, they recovered a semi-automatic rifle and another handgun believed to have been used by the suspect to kill himself, Bouchard said.

Police cordoned off the area with tape and dozens of yellow markers lay on the ground among colorful folding chairs.

“When I got there, I started crying because I know what a splash pad is supposed to be,” a place where people gather and have fun, said Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett.

The shooting was a reminder “that we live in a fragile place,” Barnett said.

Rochester Hills is about 15 miles south of Oxford, where in 2021 a 15-year-old fatally shot four high school students.

Counseling services will be offered Sunday at a local utility office to anyone in need, Bouchard said. The Oxford Resiliency Center, created to help those affected by the 2021 Oxford High School shooting, remains operational and can help community members, he said.

“Our most fervent hope, at least at this point, is that all injured victims make a speedy recovery,” Bouchard said. “None of us… expected that Father’s Day weekend would be met with this kind of tragedy that will deeply affect families forever.”

Saturday’s shooting occurred at the end of the first full week of summer vacation for Rochester Community Schools students.

Bouchard called it a “gut punch” for the county.

“We’ve had so much tragedy,” the sheriff said. “You know, we don’t even fully understand what happened at Oxford. And, you know, we’re now faced with another total tragedy that we’re dealing with.

The governor of Michigan. Gretchen Whitmer said on social platform X that she was heartbroken to learn of the shooting and was in contact with local authorities.

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