DPD search for sexual assault suspect, Detroit ranks 2nd among most violent cities, pet adoption fees waived

Detroit police are asking for people to be on the lookout for a man that fits the description of a rendering completed by the department, following reports of a criminal sexual conduct attempt on the city's east side involving a 13-year-old girl. 

The man had bloodshot eyes, badly chapped lips, and intense body odor, the department said. He allegedly tried to rip the girl's shirt off and kiss her last Tuesday.

"This guy approached her, drug her up on the abandoned house, kissed her, and tried to rip her shirt off," said DPD Cpl. Brian Herdon. 

The incident happened last Tuesday shortly after class had gotten out. A 13-year-old girl had left Carstens middle school on Essex Avenue in Detroit for a short walk home when the man approached her. 

Police said the two struggled after the man began dragging the girl by her hair. It was concealed by a bush in front of the home where the incident occurred. 

However, it was a call from the girl's mother that frightened the suspect.

"She had a laptop that started ringing and it was her mom checking in on her why it was taking so long for her to get home from school," said Herdon. "That scared the assailant off. He ran off. 

"If that laptop or tablet didn't go off, who knows where this would have gone."

The man pushed the girl to the ground and ran away. 

The suspect is described as a Black male, in his 30s, about 5-foot-8-inches with a slim build. 

In the meantime, police are asking parents to have their kids walk in groups when they come home. They also ask parents to know where their kids are at all times and have a timeline for when they'll come home from school. 

"We need the community to help us keep an eye on him," said Herdon.

Detroit ranks 2nd in FBI most violent crime list

The FBI crime stats for 2020 revealed a grim reality about 2020 - it was one of the country's most violent years on record that sent homicides and violent crimes up. Detroit came only behind Memphis, Tennessee in the annual report. 

"No, it's not good," Chief James White said Monday. Someone living in Detroit has a one in 51% chance to become a victim of violent crime. "We have a violent crime problem in our community, we have a weapons problem in our community. Our officers are confiscating 500 illegal weapons a month. That is a lot of guns coupled with poor decision making, we have a problem," White added.

White may have joined the force well after crime had spiked in Detroit, but the onus is now on him to find ways to lower it. Over the summer, the chief implemented a five-point plan, which included increasing the police presence, strict noise enforcement, cracking down on drag racing, parking lot and code enforcement, and improving community engagement.

Despite Detroit being near the top of the list, it didn't see as big of an increase in violent crime - climbing 19% where other cities saw a 30% increase in homicides. White said his focus is on disrupting the pipeline to jail - which means with education, mental health, and controlling the flow of illegal weapons. 

Pet adoption fees waived in Metro Detroit

The call for adopting pets went out and Southeast Michigan showed up in force this last weekend, helping find homes for dozens of pets that would otherwise need to be put down. While still over capacity, Detroit Animal Care was able to shelter 108 animals.

"It was a dire situation and we couldn't help but put the plea out - just using Facebook alone wasn't it," said Renena McCaskill, Detroit Animal Care. "We needed your help and we are so thankful that the news stepped up to help us because that was a big help."

However, the shelter still has 99 pets - well overcapacity. That's why the shelter is waiving adoption fees through the end of the month. And until its new facility is completed, it will be pressed to get out as many animals as it can.

"Just because you don't hear us on the news or the radio does not mean that we don't need your help," McCaskill said. "We're always in need of blankets - we're always in need for folks to get their dogs sterilized, get them licensed, and get them microchipped, so if your dog gets loose we can get them back home."

Detroit fire rig hits car, home in east side crash

Five people were hurt and a house sustained minor damage after a Detroit fire truck crashed into a car on the city's east side. The collision sent the rig into a home after an officer was ejected during the crash.

The driver of the passenger car that was hit, a woman traveling in a Mercedes, is in critical condition. Crews needed to use the caws of life to free her, Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell said. The firefighters that were injured are expected to be okay. An investigation is now underway into the accident. 

It's unclear what caused the crash, who was at fault, or if the fire truck had its sirens on when it was traveling. The rig was traveling on McClellan near Forest around 5 p.m. to get to an apartment fire when it crashed. 

Residents that live on the street are used to seeing this kind of carnage. One home reported damage to the structure from two separate car crashes within the same month. "We need speed bumps, we need whatever we need. They fly down this street 90 mph every day," said Sandra Rayford. "I've been living here for five years and I've witnessed five accidents. Every month, something happens." 

Ballot measure joins Michigan with national popular vote pact

Michigan would award its 15 electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote if enough other states also join the pact under a 2022 ballot initiative announced Monday by former top leaders in both major political parties.

Fifteen states and Washington, D.C. have enacted laws supporting the national popular vote movement. The shift would be successful when member states account for at least 270 electoral votes -- the minimum threshold to secure the presidency. The number now stands at 195.

Twice this century, the loser of the popular vote has become president. And in 2020, the race came down to narrow margins in a handful of swing states despite Democrat Joe Biden scoring a decisive win over President Donald Trump in the popular vote.

The ballot drive's organizers include the former chairmen of the Michigan Democratic and Republican parties, Mark Brewer and Saul Anuzis. The committee, Yes on National Popular Vote of Michigan, needs roughly 340,000 valid voter signatures to be certified. The Republican-controlled Legislature could either adopt the proposal or let it go on the statewide ballot.

What else we're watching

  1. Ford is leaning even heavier into the electric vehicle future with another $11.4 billion in investments in mega battery and EV plants in Tennessee and Kentucky. The two new campuses will help produce the next wave of EV Ford vehicles.
  2. The father figure for a man battling a rare brain disorder that causes the body's muscles to contract and spasm has set up a website to collect $5 donations for treatment. Read about Jay Dunn's battle with Dystonia and how you can help support him here.
  3. Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey will be in court for a plea hearing Tuesday at 3 p.m. He's accused of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government. 
  4. AAA is reporting a 31% increase in the likelihood that travelers purchase travel insurance due to COVID-19. The insurance protects people's vacation investments and health while traveling.
  5. The Michigan Homecare and Hospice Association will be demonstrating in front of the capitol in Lansing Tuesday to protest changes to the state's no-fault auto insurance policy.

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

Temperatures take a dip from summer to fall Tuesday with low 70s expected the rest of the week. There will also be a lot of sun and very little chance of rain heading into the weekend. Thank the high pressure that's building in the area for that. 

Chemical plant explosion in Louisiana leaves 6 injured

Six people were injured in an explosion late Monday at a petrochemical plant in Louisiana, according to local news reports.

The blast was reported around 11 p.m. local time at the Westlake Chemical plant in Sulphur, a city located about 15 miles west of Lake Charles. A company spokesperson told FOX 8 that it occurred at the Petro Complex 2 Unit, used in the production of ethylene.

The unit was undergoing maintenance at the time of the explosion, spokesman Joe Andrepont told the news outlet.