Rochester Hills resident mistook splash pad shooting for fireworks before she 'heard the screaming'

Living three doors down from the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad in Rochester Hills, Sana Malik said she is used to hearing screams of joy – not terror.

But on Saturday, the splash pad was where a 42-year-old Shelby Township man opened fire and injured nine people. 

"It sounded kind of like fireworks, and I usually hear them during holidays so I figured at first it was fireworks again, and then I heard the screaming after that," Malik said. "I didn’t want to be right, but I kind of figured before I knew what it was."

Out of all nine victims, a mom and her 8-year-old son are in critical condition. The 8-year-old boy was shot in the head and is showing some signs of improvement, according to Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. All other victims are in stable condition or have been released from the hospital.

Before killing himself, the gunman, Michael William Nash, unloaded 36 rounds on people enjoying the splash pad amid the intense heat. 

"I thought it was weird when I saw video of the bullet markers on the steps because I always go up those," Malik said.

As of Monday, an Oakland County sheriff’s deputy now stands watch, and tarps shield the splash pad from view.

"It's pretty sad that this happened," Malik said. "I didn’t think it would happen in a place where I live."

The shooter did not leave behind a manifesto or any clues as to why he committed the mass shooting. Yet, on his electronics, there were signs that the shooter was not stable, according to police.

Neighbors described him as a loner who did not leave the house much.

"In one of the earlier interviews, our detectives learned that he apparently had been pacing around the house with a weapon, talking about turning your phone off because 'they are listening in' – kind of a paranoia, kind of a 'government is watching us' discussion," Bouchard told FOX 2 on Monday.

Twelve guns were recovered by investigators – some at the scene, others at the shooter's home. He bought the murder weapon, a 9 mm pistol, legally in 2015.

The shooter lives with his mother, who was on a road trip when the shooting took place.  

"At this point, we have no information that anyone reported any concerns," Bouchard said.

Under Michigan's Red Flag laws, which went into effect earlier this year, a person’s guns can be taken away if a court or law enforcement agency thinks they are a threat to themselves or others. 

In order for someone to be targeted for an extreme risk protection order (ERPO), the request would have to come from a specified individual like a spouse or a family member. 

"If you think there is a mental health challenge going on… that’s the time to talk to that loved one, talk to a mental health professional, talk to some public safety employees – to loop other people in that could be resources or of assistance. Or maybe you need to have that on their radar screen," Bouchard said.

Since the shooting, the gunman's mother has hired a lawyer. Bouchard said getting information from her about her son has been a challenge and will continue to be. 

As of Monday, the following two GoFundMe drives have been confirmed as legitimate by the sheriff's office:

  • A GoFundMe for a family that had two kids and a parent injured in the shooting can be found here.
  • A GoFundMe for a couple that was injured in the shooting while shielding their children can be found here.


Rochester Hills splash pad shooting: Oakland County Sheriff says two victims released

The Oakland County Sheriff will give more details about Saturday's mass shooting at the Rochester Hills splash pad.