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Detroit Police Chief Calls Barber Shop Shooting ‘Urban Terrorism’

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Detroit Police Chief James Craig (center) discusses a shooting at a barber shop that left 3 dead, 7 injured. (Credit: George Fox/CBS Detroit)

Detroit Police Chief James Craig (center) discusses a shooting at a barber shop that left 3 dead, 7 injured. (Credit: George Fox/CBS Detroit)

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By Christy Strawser, digital director

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Describing it as one of the city’s more violent episodes, Detroit Police Chief James Craig revealed that a person of interest had been picked up for questioning for a deadly shooting that left three dead and six people injured at a barbershop Wednesday evening.

“This is a violent act, and basically what I refer to as urban terrorism,” the chief said, describing an incident where someone opened fire with a high-powered rifle into the shop. The people inside were gambling inside a back room; the incident allegedly stemmed from a beef between the shooter and at least one of the people inside.

This follows on the heels of the shooting death of a pregnant woman, and the killing of a Wayne State University law student. The city has had 289 homicides so far this year, 41 down from last year.

Does the city need outside help patrolling the streets?

“I do not need help from the National Guard,” Craig said in response to that question at the press conference he held to update the public on the deadly night in Detroit.

“Good morning … Not a good one, especially as we have the vile act that happened here in Detroit last night,” Craig said in opening his press conference, adding condolences to the families of the victims.

Detroit police had earlier confirmed three people were killed and six others were wounded in a shooting on the city’s northeast side. It happened just before 6 p.m. Wednesday at Al’s Barber Shop in the 5200 block of 7 Mile Road, west of Mound, near Keystone Street.

According to police, two vehicles pulled up to the barber shop and the gunmen engaged two of the victims before they started shooting. A witnesses said he was riding his bike down 7 Mile when he heard what sounded like ten to 15 seconds of automatic gunfire.

Craig added a squad was there within one minute of getting the 911 call saying someone had pulled to the rear of the barber shop — with 20 to 30 gamblers inside — and opened fire.

“There was an attempted mass exodus, however the door … opened inward and the victims were struck in the room,” Craig said. Multiple occupants of the room were armed, said Craig, and at least one of them returned fire.

A person of interest has been arrested on an unrelated charge and is being held in Oakland County, Craig said.

“This individual is a convicted felon and was wearing body armor at the time of arrest,” the chief said.

Barber Shop Shooting: Crime Scene Photos

“Two vehicles were involved in a shootout,” Detroit Police spokesperson Kelly Miner said Wednesday. “Someone shot into the building and that’s when people rushed out of the building and were running into other area businesses for cover.”

According to the Wayne County medical examiner, 29-year-old Bryan Williams of Detroit, 61-year-old Joezelle Williams of Detroit,  and 40 year-old Kevin Perryman of Clinton Township all died of multiple gunshot wounds.

In all, police say a total of nine people were shot. Two of the  victims died at the scene, while a third victim later died at the hospital.

Police had cordoned off a two-block section of 7 Mile in each direction to investigate, in the area where many of the storefronts are vacant. Bullet holes were observed on the exterior walls behind the barber shop and broken glass littered the ground.

Authorities are looking for two suspect vehicles: a 2004 black Chevy Impala and a 2004 white Chevy Impala. Police said the white vehicle may have a broken window and bullet holes in the back. Police are also searching for the gunmen. One person is reportedly in police custody.

Those injured were taken to Detroit Receiving and other hospitals in various conditions. No further information about the victims’ conditions has been released.

Crime Stoppers is now offering a $5,000 reward for the tip that leads to an arrest in this case.  Anyone with information about this is asked to call the anonymous tip line at 1-800-SPEAK-Up (1-800-773-2587 ). Tipsters may also submit information online at this link.

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