DETROIT (WWJ) – It started out as a night like any other over the past 26 years that U.S. District Court Judge Terrence G. Berg has lived with his wife, Anita Sevier, in the University District in northwest Detroit.
It was around 9:10 p.m. Thursday and things on the quaint Oak Drive, near 7 Mile and Livernois just north of the University of Detroit Mercy, were quiet as usual. Berg was taking out the garbage in front of his home, about to go back inside, when he was confronted by two people.
“He was walking up this path here and someone approached him, and I don’t know why,” Sevier told WWJ’s Charlie Langton. “And I feel badly that somebody felt that they needed to do this. I feel for people that don’t have something else to be doing. I’m sorry that this has to happen in Detroit.”
The suspects apparently told Berg that he was being robbed and that they did not want to kill him. They then tried to force the 55-year-old back into his house, but the judge wasn’t giving up so easily. A struggle ensued, during which one of the suspects opened fire, striking Berg in the right thigh. The assailants then fled the scene in a black vehicle, likely a Chrysler 300 or Dodge Charger.
When she first heard her husband screaming, Sevier thought he might have slipped on the ice and perhaps broken a window. But when she realized he was in danger, she immediately called 911.
“It didn’t really register,” she said. “I heard a gunshot and my husband yelling and that sort of thing, yelling for help.”
An ambulance arrived at the home shortly thereafter and rushed Berg to Sinai Grace Hospital in temporary-serious condition.
Sevier said they’ve lived at the home for nearly three decades and have never had any problems. She always considered the neighborhood safe and friendly.
“It was a big ordeal but he’s going to be OK and I don’t know, we’ll see,” she said. “The doctors a great, I’m sure he’ll be OK. I’m just sorry that this all happened.”
During the interview, federal Marshals arrived at the home to take Sevier to the hospital to see her husband, who is undergoing surgery Friday morning. Berg is expected to make a full recovery.
Investigators do not think that Berg was intentionally targeted. Sevier said neither she nor her husband recognized the assailants, described as African-American males, approximately 18- to 20-years old.
The FBI is handling the investigation with assistance from Detroit police. Information on possible suspects has not yet been released.
An investigation is ongoing.