WATERFORD (WWJ) – The Oakland County Sheriff says “an active shooter” on a violent rampage is now in custody after two murders and a shootout with police.
Authorities say the suspect — since identified as a 45-year-old Sterling Heights man — walked into a trucking company on Pennsylvania Ave., west of Telegraph Rd. in Taylor Thursday morning, and shot and killed the manager.
The suspect then stole a white semi truck, Sheriff Mike Bouchard said, then driving to another business — Aluminum Blanking on Sheffield St. in Pontiac — where he shot and killed a second man. Next, the shooter visited a third business, Assured Carriers in Waterford, where he asked for another man who wasn’t there.
Bouchard said that’s when police caught up with the man, putting a stop to what he called “a planned killing spree.”
“When he left that Waterford business and was driving they were behind him with their lights and siren on. He stopped the truck, shot at him, got back in the truck, continued to flee until the crash,” the sheriff said.
The crash happened just before noon at Dixie Hwy. and Frembes Rd., north of Sashabaw, where witness Chuck Clear saw the truck speed through the intersection, hitting at least two other vehicles.
“The next thing I know the Waterford Police Department pulls up — and I’m sitting here thinking it’s just a traffic accident. They jump out of the car and start shooting…they were shooting at each other,” Clear told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill. “And then the Waterford Police Department shot the one guy, he fell to the ground.”
Bouchard said the suspect shot at and was shot by Waterford officers; but was still alive and in surgery at a local hospital under police guard.
Bouchard noted that the suspect was out on bond for a December assault with a dangerous weapon at the time of these shootings.
The weapon recovered at the scene, the sheriff said, was “an AK-47 with double-tapped, taped together 30-round magazines.” Inside of the truck, Bouchard said investigators found multiple additional magazines.
Bouchard said it’s fortunate that no one else was hurt. “When you’ve got a person, clearly, that stops in the middle of the road, turns around, gets out and starts shooting at police cars…He doesn’t care about anything or anyone after he’s already killed.”
The victim in Pontiac has been identified as 58-year-old Eriberto Perez. He was shot multiple times in the back; and Bouchard said investigators are certain that he was specifically targeted.
“The suspect appeared to know exactly where he was going, went directly into this building, made turns and through doors and engaged this one person only and then left,” Bouchard said.
The name of the man killed in Taylor was not immediately released.
Nick Verhey, who works at Assured Carriers, said he came face to face with the gunman.
“He was standing right there and said, ‘What are you doing?’, and I couldn’t hardly understand him, but I think he told me, he said, ‘I’m not looking for you,'” Verhey said. “And that’s when I slammed the door in his face and locked the door.”
Verhey and a coworker then climbed out his office window, called 911, and gave police a description of the truck and the suspect. No one was hurt at Assured Carriers.
Verhey added that he has no idea what might have prompted the rampage.
“He was just a normal truck driver; he did local trucking for us, ” Verhey said. “I mean, we never had any words with the guy or anything…He quit on us twice and we actually rehired him the second time, but…he never seemed to have a problem here.”
Bouchard said two people were hurt in the crash in Waterford, but their injuries were described as non-life-threatening.
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