Royal Oak police shooting of suspect near White Castle ruled justified

Officials have ruled the fatal shooting of 28-year-old Antonino Gordon during an encounter with Royal Oak police officers was justified.

On April 10, Gordon was shot and killed by an officer while fleeing a traffic stop in Royal Oak. An investigation was launched and officials found the officer acted in self defense and also found Gordon's bodily alcohol content registered three times the legal limit for driving.

Royal Oak authorities are holding a press conference Wednesday to discuss the investigation's findings. You can watch a livestream when the conference begins on FOX 2 News Now live on our Facebook page. It's scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

Police say Officer Keith Bierenga noticed Gordon driving recklessly and attempted to pull him over. After a short pursuit, the officer approached Gordon's window, and Gordon fled westbound on 13 Mile.

Police say Bierenga lost sight of Gordon. About 15 minutes later he was seen in the drive-thru of the White Castle near 13 Mile and Coolidge.

Royal Oak police say Bierenga blocked Gordon with his patrol car and approached him with his weapon drawn. Police say Gordon then reversed his car, smashing into the vehicle behind him and accelerated forward -- narrowly missing Bierenga. 

Police say Gordon then struck the patrol car and began speeding out of the parking lot. Just as Gordon rammed his car out of the blockade, that's when police say Bierenga fired his gun, hitting Gordon.

Officials say Gordon then took off after being shot, crashing into a minivan on 13 Mile. He later died at Beaumont with a gunshot wound to the chest and two in his arms. The driver of the van, a woman, suffered non-life threatening injuries.   

After the investigation, police determined the officer acted in self defense. Reports also found that Gordon was intoxicated and he tested positive for cannabinoids.

"There is no question that this was a very tragic incident for all involved," said Prosecutor Leyton in a release. "What started out as a routine traffic stop quickly escalated into a dangerous felony situation."

The shooting caused unrest in the community as a month later, Gordon's family and friends protested on Main Street, demanding answers and holding signs that read: "You killed my cousin", "Justice for Nino" and "Cameras for cops". 


Royal Oak Police say Gordon has had numerous contacts with law enforcement, including multiple arrests for Operating While Intoxicating (OWI) and disorderly conduct. At the time of this incident, police Gordon had a criminal bench warrant for his arrest with a bond of $75,000.

The officer had been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.