At least eight injured including boy, 8, shot in the head after gunman opens fire at splash pad

Two people died in separate shooting at Juneteenth celebration in Texas

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Sunday 16 June 2024 14:43 BST
At least 9 wounded in Rochester Hills splashpad shooting

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

At least eight people have been injured, including an eight-year-old boy who was shot in the head, after a gunman opened fire at a splash pad in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills in Michigan.

Law enforcement followed the suspect to his home where he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The eight-year-old was in critical condition on Saturday night, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said. The child’s mother was also in critical condition after being struck in the leg and abdomen while his four-year-old brother was in stable condition after being struck in the leg.

The other victims are all over the age of 30, the sheriff said. Among those shot were a husband and wife as well as a 78-year-old man.

The shooting took place just after 5pm on Saturday. The shooting seemed to be random as the gunman drove up to the park, made his way over to the splash pad, and began firing, discharging as many as 28 rounds, reloading on several occasions, according to law enforcement

Police investigate the scene of the shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad in Rochester Hills, Michigan on Saturday
Police investigate the scene of the shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad in Rochester Hills, Michigan on Saturday (Getty Images)

At least one witness said the gunman used two handguns but that hasn’t been confirmed, the sheriff noted.

“People were falling, getting hit, trying to run,” Bouchard said. “Terrible things that unfortunately all of us in our law enforcement business have seen way too much.”

The gunman also appeared to be “in no rush,” the sheriff added, and that he “just calmly walked back to his car.”

Following the 911 call, first responders were sent to the scene, and a police officer was at the park within two minutes.

First responders began providing first aid, including tourniquets, and the police were able to locate a possible address for the suspect where a car matching the vehicle used by the gunman was seen.

Bouchard said officers surrounded the home and attempted to speak to the suspect but were unsuccessful. After sending a drone into the home, police entered the residence, finding the suspect dead.

Oakland County Sheriff evidence technicians document the scene where the shooting took place
Oakland County Sheriff evidence technicians document the scene where the shooting took place (AFP via Getty Images)

The sheriff said that finding the suspect quickly may have stopped a “second chapter” to the shooting as another weapon was found inside. Bouchard showed an image of a semiautomatic rifle on a table in the home.

He added that the suspect didn’t live in Rochester Hills and it remains unclear why he chose to target the splash pad.

The suspect’s name has not been released. The sheriff said that he was a 42-year-old white man, likely living with his mother, who has been made aware of what happened.

“In terms of the ‘why,’ I don’t know,” the sheriff said.

Officers found a handgun, three empty magazines, and 28 shell casings at the splash pad. They found a semiautomatic rifle at the home as well as a second handgun, believed to have been used by the suspect to take his own life, the sheriff said.

Officials secure the scene of the shooting at the splash pad
Officials secure the scene of the shooting at the splash pad (AP)

Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said, “When I got on scene I started to cry because I know what a splash pad is supposed to be,” adding the shooting served as a reminder “that we live in a fragile place.”

Rochester Hills is about 15 miles south of Oxford where a 15-year-old shot and killed four students at a high school in 2021.

“Our most fervent hope, at least at his point, is that all of the injured victims have speedy recoveries,” the sheriff said said. “None of us ... anticipated going into Father’s Day weekend with this kind of tragedy that families will be deeply affected by forever.”

“We’ve gone through so many tragedies,” he added. “You know, we’re not even fully comprehending what happened at Oxford. And, you know, now we have another complete tragedy that we’re dealing with.”

Also on Saturday, two people died and six others, including two children, were injured when a shooting took place during the Round Rock Juneteenth Celebration in Texas. Police Chief Allen Banks said that an “altercation broke out between two groups” at about 10.50pm.

“During that altercation, someone produced a gun and began to fire,” he added. “Multiple victims were hit.”

The two people pronounced dead were not part of the altercation. Banks said there was no one in custody, adding that the suspects fled the scene. Four adults and two children were take to local hospitals, “all with potentially serious injuries,” Austin-Travis County EMS said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in