2 dead in 'planned killing spree' across metro Detroit; suspect in custody

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Suspect Vernest Griffin

A man is in police custody after two fatal shootings at a pair of businesses across metro Detroit Thursday morning. 

The first fatal workplace shooting happened at a business in Taylor around 10:30 a.m., according to police there. The suspect walked into BSD Trucking with a semiautomatic weapon and started shooting. One man was struck and killed. 

Taylor Police then say the suspect held his gun to a truck driver's head, stole the semi and drove off. 

The second fatal shooting happened at a business in Pontiac just about an hour later. 

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard says one person was shot and killed at Aluminum Stamping Inc. The victim has been identified as 58-year-old Eriberto Perez.

Bouchard says the suspect also went to a third business in Waterford about 20 minutes later. He was seen leaving Assured Trucking at 11:50 a.m. Bouchard says the suspect entered that workplace and asked for someone by name before leaving. 

After that, Bouchard says the suspect got back in the semi truck. At 11:52 a.m., Bouchard says the suspect stopped the truck and shot at Waterford Police officers, and then got back in the truck and continued to drive away. 

Just a few minutes later, the suspect got in an accident at Frembes and Dixie. Bouchard says the suspect got out of the semi and shots were fired with officers. The suspect was hit by gunfire and taken to the hospital in police custody. 

Bouchard couldn't say how many times the suspect was shot, but did say the suspect is expected to live. 

Bouchard said this was "clearly, a planned killing spree." Authorities recovered an AK-47 from the vehicle, as well as "multiple, multiple" rounds of magazines, Bouchard said.

Bouchard credited the quick action and communication between Pontiac and Waterford police to the suspect's quick apprehension, and says the situation could've been "tremendously worse."

Taylor Police say the suspect was a former employee of BSD Trucking. Police say the suspect returned to the business once since being let go for a payroll dispute, and threatened the same employee with a gun. Taylor Police responded to that incident in November of 2017 and arrested the suspect, Vernest James Griffin. Griffin received multiple charges, including assault and weapons charges, and has been out since on bond. 

Bouchard wasn't sure at this time what the suspect's connection was to the businesses in Pontiac and Waterford, but says the suspect appeared to know exactly where he was going. 

Bouchard says, at the Pontiac business, the suspect took turns and went through doors straight to the victim's desk, where Perez was shot multiple times through an open sliding-glass style window. Bouchard said the suspect asked for someone by name, too, at the Waterford business before leaving. 

The victim at the Taylor business has not yet been named, but police say he is 60 years old, a member of management and a relative of the owner. 

This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 2 for updates.