Taylor victim fatally shot by suspect in killing spree described as great man

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Victim Keith Kitchen

Two people are dead and the suspected gunman in the hospital after a killing spree that spanned two counties.

It was described as a war zone; it could have been so much worse. The suspect killed two people then went to a third location in Waterford.

The Taylor victim, Keith Kitchen.

"The only reason I am doing this interview is out of praise for Keith and the man that he was," said Stacie Richter, a coworker of Keith. 

He was a man who always introduced Richter as his "work wife." 

"If he was penniless, he found a penny and someone needed it he would give it," Richter said. "If he had a shirt on his back and someone was cold, he would take it off and he'd give it."

Both Stacie and Tambra Hetzel worked with Keith Kitchen for years.
"He was the greatest man I've had the pleasure of knowing, my entire life," said Tambra Hetzel. 

The 60-year-old man was at work at BSD Trucking Thursday morning around 10:30 when a former employee authorities say - knew exactly who he was looking for - came in and gunned Keith down. He stole a semi-truck and took off for Oakland County.

"I think he some list going either in his mind in either his mind or somewhere he wrote down," said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard. "Hopefully we can find that."

After that, at 11:34 p.m. shots were fired at Aluminum Blanking Inc. on Sheffield in Pontiac.  One minute later a person was reported dead, the victim identified as 58-year-old Eriberto Perez

By 11:39 authorities were told they had an active shooter and by 11:50 the semi-truck was in Waterford. By 11:52 the suspect fired at officers, climbed back in his truck and kept going.

"We saw a cop car lit up coming down the road," said witness Jerry Sidock. "And then there was more cop cars and more cop cars. Down there at the semis there was gunfire."

Three minutes later at Frembes and Dixie, the suspect had crashed leaving a mangled car. The two young ladies inside are going to be Okay. 

There was a shootout with police, the suspect hit in the volley of bullets and arrested.

"I'm having a hard time with the man who did this because Keith deserved so much better," Richter said.

The suspect is Vernest Griffin of Sterling Heights. He was allegedly used an AK 47 and had 30 round magazines. He was packing even more ammo when he allegedly killed two people and took cops across two counties.

He had threatened his coworkers with a gun and he was out on bond for assault with a dangerous weapon and other gun charges.

 Now he'll be back in court, this time likely facing murder charges.