Rochester Hills splashpad shooting: New info on dead suspect; how deputies tracked him

After a five-plus hour standoff, the suspected shooter in the random assault at a Rochester Hills splashpad was found dead by suicide late Saturday night.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard has reason to believe that the Brooklands Splashpad at Spencer Park might not have been his only target and that the tragedy in which nine people were wounded including two small children ages 4 and 8, could have been worse.

The handgun the 42-year-old Shelby Township man used was a registered 9mm pistol, recovered at the scene with three empty magazines which would have held nearly 30 rounds of ammunition. 

Thanks to witness' car descriptions and an investigation into the weapon, deputies, SWAT teams and negotiators were able to rush to the man's residence at the Dequindre Estates mobile home park within 45 minutes of the shooting and put forth containment efforts.

"There were some evidence related to the firearm and some other things that they did some quick research and data examination and the weapons and they gave us a potential address," Bouchard said.

Inside, he had an AR-style rifle on the kitchen table and was lying dead next to a third gun, a pistol, that he used on himself.

"The reason that containment is critically important and why potentially more lives were saved as we don't know what the next chapter was going to be," Bouchard said. "When the drone flew into the home, this was on the kitchen table. So he didn't have just a handgun in that particular endeavor - he had obviously, what looks to be an AR platform rifle, But what I do know is that individual was in that home with (possibly more weapons).

"Because we had quick containment on him, that if he had planned to do anything else, it wouldn't surprise me. Because having that on the kitchen table isn't an everyday activity. "

Related: Brooklands Splashpad shooting: Suspect dead after wounding 9 in Rochester Hills

The self-inflicted gunshot wound happened at some point during the standoff because deputies, although they did not have back-and-forth communication after arriving outside the home, had seen and or heard him inside.

Police have no prior contact with the shooter who lived with his mother at the residence. It is believed he may have suffered mental health issues, police said.

The man's mother was not home, but she was contacted and notified Saturday night.  As to why the splashpad in a neighboring city was targeted, an investigation is underway into a possible paper trail or digital trail that could shed light on the man's motivation Bouchard said.

Deputies used a Live 911 system that Bouchard credited with the quick response of two minutes to the shooting scene at 5:13 p.m.

"So with a drone, we can have an operator actually geofence the 911 call and hear a call before it's dispatched and launch a drone to get actual (eyes) on what's going on," Bouchard said. "Sometimes even before call gets there 20% of the time, and then people in that district can actually hear the call to the 911 Center before it goes out over the radio. So it can markedly improve response times in an emergency, which is what it did here."

Eight of the nine victims were described as:

  • An 8-year-old with a gunshot wound to the head in critical condition
  • A 4-year-old with a wound to his thigh and is in stable condition
  • A 39-year-old woman with wounds to the abdomen anis in critical
  • A 39-year-old woman with wounds to the back and arm, who is in stable condition
  • A 30-year-old man with a right leg wound who is in stable
  • A 78-year-old man with an abdomen wound who is in stable
  • A 37-year-old woman with a hand-wound in stable
  • A 40-year-old man with a right knee wound who is in stable

The sheriff said that his thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, adding that he was proud of how his deputies responded. He said that there are some employees who yet to return after the Oxford mass shooting in November of 2021, adding that peer-to-peer counseling is available. 

Among the evidence being combed through includes video from the scene which captured the chaotic moments.

"It appears based on the evidence that I saw that he started firing once he was out of his car," he said. "(And) from the base of the steps, climbing the steps, reloading and then was firing from the top of the steps in the splash pad area before he left - and appeared to leave in no rush. 

"He just calmly walked back to his car. So, a bizarre situation."