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Shooting in Rochester Hill: At least nine injured, suspect commits suicide

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Nine people were injured, including two young children and their mother, when a gunman opened fire Saturday at a suburban Detroit wading pool where families were gathering to escape the summer heat. Police pursued a suspect to a home, where the man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

An 8-year-old boy was shot in the head Saturday night and is in critical condition, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said during a news conference. The boy's mother was also in critical condition after suffering injuries to her abdomen and leg, and his 4-year-old brother was in stable condition with a leg injury.

Authorities initially assumed that up to ten people had suffered gunshot wounds in the shooting in Rochester Hills. However, after consulting with area hospitals, this number was revised downward.

The other six victims, all 30 or older, are in stable condition, Bouchard said. They include a married couple and a 78-year-old man.

The shooting happened shortly after 5 p.m. in a city park that has a recreational area with a non-slip surface where people can turn on water splashes and fountains to play. Bouchard said the attack appeared to be random; the gunman drove to the park by car, walked to the water playground and fired up to 28 times, stopping several times to reload.

At least one witness reported that the shooter apparently used two handguns in the attack. However, this has not yet been confirmed, the sheriff said.

In the chaos, “people were falling, getting hit and trying to escape,” Bouchard said. “Terrible things that we have all unfortunately seen far too often in our police work.”

The shooter “apparently was in no hurry. He just calmly walked back to his car,” the sheriff said.

Police heard the 911 call about the shooting immediately, Bouchard said, because the agency uses a service that simultaneously sends 911 calls to emergency responders. An officer was on the scene within two minutes, he said.

Bouchard said the first officers to arrive immediately began first aid, including applying tourniquets. Officers were also able to quickly determine a likely address, and a car matching the suspect's vehicle was parked outside the residence.

Officers surrounded the home and tried unsuccessfully to make contact with the suspect inside, Bouchard said. They sent a drone into the home and found the suspect dead.

Another weapon was found in the house. The quick arrest of the suspect may have prevented a “second shooting,” the sheriff said, showing a photo of a semi-automatic rifle on a table in the house.

According to Bouchard, the suspect did not live in Rochester Hills and investigators do not yet know why he went to the wading pool.

Officials did not release the man's name. Bouchard described him as a 42-year-old white man and said officials believed he lived with his mother. The man's mother has been notified, Bouchard said.

“I don't know the 'why,'” Bouchard said of the shooter's motive.

Officers found a handgun, three empty magazines and 28 shell casings in the wading pool. Inside the house, they found a semi-automatic rifle and another handgun that the suspect presumably used to commit suicide, Bouchard said.

Police cordoned off the area with tape and dozens of yellow evidence markers lay on the ground between colorful folding chairs.

“When I arrived, I cried because I know what a splash pad is,” said Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett.

The shooting is a reminder “that we live in a fragile place,” Barnett said.

Rochester Hills is located about 24 kilometers south of Oxford, where in 2021 a 15-year-old four high school students shot dead.

Counseling will be offered to anyone in need at a local public services office on Sunday, Bouchard said. The Oxford Resiliency Center, set up to help victims of the 2021 Oxford High School shooting, is still operating and able to help community members, he said.

“Our greatest hope, at least at this point, is that all injured victims make a speedy recovery,” Bouchard said. “None of us … expected that we would be entering Father's Day weekend with such a tragedy that will forever deeply affect the families.”

Saturday's shooting occurred at the end of the first full week of summer vacation for Rochester Community Schools students.

Bouchard called it “a punch in the gut” for the county.

“We've seen so many tragedies,” the sheriff said. “You know, we don't even fully comprehend what happened in Oxford. And now we're dealing with another tragedy.”

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said on social media platform X that she was heartbroken to learn of the shooting and that she was in contact with local authorities.