'Disturbed' man goes on rampage in Hamtramck City Hall

A man went on a rampage smashing everything he could get his hands on at Hamtramck City Hall.

Hamtramck City Clerk August Gitschlag was sitting at his desk Tuesday afternoon when a disturbed man showed up at his window.

"I was utterly terrified," he said. "I did not know what was happening. Why this man was in the clerk's office in the first place.

"(He was) a very large gentleman who's obviously very angry, grabs the shelf and starts screaming at me 'I've been trying to call y'all - why won't y'all talk to me?'

"I said, 'Is there somebody that you need me to call? I can call anybody you want me to call.'"

But the man didn't wait for Gitschlag to pick up the phone, instead the man launched himself through the window.

"Within a second I look up and he's on the desk, he's in my office," Gitschlag said. "He shot through the window and lands on Anna's desk, smashes whatever didn't fall, and then tried to pick the desk up and can't.

"He's just like 'Hulk-smash' mode."

Gitschlag, still seated, scoots backward out of the path of destruction.

"I'm stuck in my chair," he said. "I don't know what to do. I have a handful of files and he's coming at me and he smashes that computer."

August, alone in the office, tried to calm the man down and get out of there.

"I said 'I'll try to help you' and he goes - 'I'm having a breakdown.'"

Gitschlag escaped out the door into the hallway where he encountered people waiting in line and told them to run in the other direction.

Hamtramck police, located at the other end of the hall, came running. It took several officers to take the man into custody and to the hospital.

It turns out he had been calling 911 from a cell phone, threatening suicide but dispatch could not determine his location.

So he came to city hall instead.

"He was huge, he was literally foaming at the mouth," Gitschlag said. "He was clearly disturbed."

He said he hopes the man gets the help he needs.

Even though the city clerk was shaken, he stands by this motto more than ever - "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always."

It's the sign he has hanging in the clerk's office, an office that's already back in business.

"Totally back together," Gitschlag said. "The office is functioning, we're issuing ballots. Everything's smooth and running as it's supposed to."
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