Military vet on disability charged with fireworks incident at church

- Video inside the Divine Child church chapel in Dearborn led to fear and outrage after a man set off fireworks inside, burning a bible.

Police say the suspect, 42-year-old David Cerne, has a troubled history.

"He has 100 percent disability from the military," said Det. Brian Shafer, Inkster police. "We believe he's got some mental issues that are being dealt with right now."

MORE: Man arrested for setting off firework in Dearborn's Divine Child chapel
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Inkster police first came into contact with the Iraq war veteran last year in October. Cerne has been charged with third degree arson, malicious destruction of personal property and assault.

"In my interactions with him, he's always been very timid," Shafer said. "He appears to be maybe like an older child but he's very timid."

Records show Cerne in December was charged with 14 counts including ethnic intimidation and malicious destruction of personal property for spray painting cars with racial slurs and swastikas.

"He is not targeting anyone specific or special," said Shafer. "This is just something he randomly went through."

The court ordered a competency evaluation and Cerne was found competent and was released on bond.

"I know on that particular instance they were also trying to seek some help from the VA down at Third Circuit Court," Shafer said.

Neighbors in his west side Detroit neighborhood say Cerne lives there with his father.

One neighbor said he's seen Cerne throwing bullets into a neighbor's pool and another neighbor who doesn't want to be shown, says Cerne lit her garage on fire. Other neighbors are not surprised to hear about the recent incident.

"He didn't seem too friendly, he would just look at you kind of weird," said one neighbor.


Inkster police said last week on the same day he was seen in Dearborn, Cerne was also charged for attempting to set a home on fire near Spring Hill and Beach.

Police say a witness discovered what he was doing and Cerne was cooperative.

Now in custody back in court Wednesday, Inkster police say they're working with Dearborn and Detroit investigators.

"I don't want him to be a harm to people," Shafer said. "Nor do I want anyone to harm him. He served our country well and I think we should take care of him."
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