MONROE (WWJ) – Authorities say a suicidal man who caused an hours-long armed standoff on I-75 just north of the state line, bringing traffic to a halt through the morning commute, is now in custody.
The situation began around 4:30 a.m. Thursday in Pontiac when Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies tried to do a welfare check on a 37-year-old man, who was making suicidal threats. Deputies went to the man’s house, but he wasn’t there. They then located the man’s vehicle and attempted to pull him over, but he fled from police and drove onto I-75.
Deputies initially started to chase after the man but then decided to terminate the pursuit and put out an alert for other departments.
“During the pursuit, the driver actually had the Facebook Live app streaming and the officers were able to see that not only was he making threats to kill himself but also to kill law enforcement officers pursuing him,” Michigan State Police Lt. Tony Cuevas, Monroe Post Commander, told WWJ’s Mike Campbell.
The suspect vehicle was eventually located on southbound I-75 in Monroe County, where state police resumed the slow-moving chase. A short time later the suspect ran over stop-sticks near Gaynier Road, just past the weigh station, flattening all four tires.
When the vehicle came to a stop, the man then barricaded himself inside with “some weapons,” according to Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw.
Hours passed as negotiators attempted to get the man to surrender. Just before 11:30 a.m., the suspect was taken into custody.
“Through negotiations we were able to have him throw out the one firearm that he did have in his possession,” said Cuevas. “There could still be a second firearm, the officers on scene are still searching his vehicle.”
The freeway’s northbound lanes have re-opened, but the southbound lanes remain closed; police say they will re-open as soon as possible.
“It couldn’t happen at a worse time, knowing that we have the northbound morning traffic and people trying to head south out of town. We appreciate their patience. Their safety is in our best interest and that’s why we have the freeway closed in both directions,” said Cuveas. “It’s very fluid and we can’t have traffic going northbound when we’re dealing with a situation with an armed suspect going southbound.”
Neither the suspect nor any of the officers were injured during the incident.