Pontiac man in custody after six hour standoff

The sound of the highway is just background noise to James Smith. His home is surrounded by fields – not a neighbor in sight.  So, the sound of grounding bald tires and the sight of state troopers in pursuit heading south on I-75 got his attention around 5:30 a.m. Thursday.

"When they were chasing him I saw seven or eight of them. But when they tried to get him to surrender there were about 10 state troopers."

That’s not all he heard.

"They were asking him to roll down his windows and put his hands out. They asked him multiple times, they asked him to surrender."

What he was watching was the start of a six hour standoff that started in northern Oakland County and ended just eight miles shy of the Ohio border.

"Our sheriff’s office was able to use stop sticks to disable his tires," said Lt. Tony Cuevas, Monroe Post Commander.

Police say the suicidal 37-year-old from Pontiac was holding a gun and making threats via social media.

"The suspect was using the Facebook live app to say his intentions. He was intent on hurting himself and intent on hurting law enforcement, and members of the general public," said Lt. Cuevas.

Once he was stopped, the highway was shut down as Michigan State Police negotiators got to work.

Negotiations on I-75 went on for hours but it wasn't without its obstacles.  Even Sky Fox - hovering above the scene - was sent away to establish better lines of communication between police and the suspect.

"It made it difficult for the negotiators to hear, just from the rotors and the noise that it makes. It also agitated the suspect."

Around 11:30 a.m. they got through to the suspect. They convinced him to ditch his gun and give himself up.

"He will be medically evaluated and then transported over to the Monroe County Jail,” said Lt. Cuevas. “He will face felony charges."

Michigan State Police say he will likely be charged with fleeing and evading and resisting arrest.

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