ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WJBK) - A 28-year-old Royal Oak man was shot and killed Tuesday night by police after fleeing a traffic stop. A family member calls this murder but police are being extremely tight-lipped about what happened.
The family of Antonino Gordon - known an Nino - says he was just two blocks from home when he was shot by a Royal Oak police officer in the drive thru of a White Castle at 13 Mile and Coolidge around 6:30 Tuesday night.
Joseph Dedvukaj is an attorney and part of the family - his niece was married to Nino. He says the Royal Oak officer fired four or five shots - hitting Gordon once in the chest and once in the arm as he sat behind the wheel of a black BMW.
"This is murder. This is a police officer abusing his badge and committing a murder like any other individual who draws a weapon and discharges it at another individual," Dedvukaj said. "It's a tragedy and it's a crime."
Police said the officer had tried to pull him over for a traffic stop but he sped off and lost police. About 15 minutes later, police caught up to him in the drive thru of the White Castle. It's not clear what happened next or why the officer opened fire but police say Gordon tried to drive away after he'd been shot. He eventually crashed into another car on 13 Mile road.
Dedvukaj says they're at a loss for why police shot him.
"He did not have a gun, he didn't believe in any guns, and so I just can't imagine any reason for this police officer to do what he did," he said.
Royal Oak Police released a statement saying Gordon had multiple arrests for disorderly conduct and operating while intoxicated and had a bench warrant out for his arrest for OWI. Dedvukaj says Gordon was driving a relative's car that night, so police could not have known any of this when they tried to pull him over for that traffic stop.
"That's just damage control because they could not have known any of those facts at the time of this incident," he said. "None of those facts would justify murdering somebody. To be a judge, jury and executioner is just not the way our system of justice works."
The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
In the meantime, loved ones say Gordon was a good person, who just got married last summer, and hoped to one day open his own construction company. His wife and parents still can't understand what's happened.
"It's horrible and my prayers go out to her and the Gordon family. There's not much anyone can do. Definitely a start would be for the Oakland County Prosecutor to prosecute this police officer for the crime he's committed," Dedvukaj said.
The Oakland County Sheriff's Office is conducting an investigation and is not releasing many details at this time.