ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – An apparent murder and barricaded gunman situation in Oakland County leaves two men dead. Police say the body of 72-year-old Harry Berkowitz was found shot to death inside his home near 13 Mile and Inkster.
He was a longtime resident of Franklin and taught at West Maple Elementary School in Birmingham.
Police think Ian Matthews, a man in his 30’s who lived with Berkowitz, may be connected to the murder. Matthews barricaded himself inside a Royal Oak home, before fatally shooting himself.
Royal Oak Police Chief Cory O’Donahue told WWJ that the man inside the Royal Oak home on Sprague Street near 11 Mile and I-75 actually committed suicide using his own weapon.
“And we sent a robot into clear to see what it could see and once we were reasonably certain that there was no threat in there – the SWAT Team operators entered and found the deceased.”
Franklin Police Chief Dan Roberts talks about the relationship between the two men
“The two were living together in Mr. Berkowitz’s home for a number of years … several, so they were very close friends for a number of years,” said Chief Roberts.
“The individual they have in Royal Oak, Ian Matthews, has been living at this location (in Franklin) with him for a number of years and now it appears that both individuals have passed away,” he said.
Nancy Katzman is a longtime friend of Berkowitz: “Mr. Berkowitz’s passion was teaching and his passion was children and he gave back to the community, he loved Franklin, he loved flowers and gardens and field trips with the kids.”
“For all of us in Franklin it’s very sad because Mr. B, as we all knew him, was not only a part of the Franklin community but he was a big part of the Birmingham schools systems as well.”
Counselors will be on hand tomorrow at West Maple Elementary for students and staff.