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Neighbours of the paddling pool shooter fear that they will be next and describe him as a “loner”

Shelby Township — A Shelby Township gunman described by neighbors as a “loner” fired 28 shots in a “random” attack, wounding nine people, two seriously, including an 8-year-old boy, at a Rochester Hills wading pool on Saturday before he was found dead, police officials said.

According to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, 42-year-old Michael William Nash exited a vehicle at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad on Auburn Road in Rochester Hills at approximately 5:11 p.m. Saturday, opened fire with a 9 mm Glock semi-automatic pistol, reloaded, fired and reloaded a second time, leaving three cartridge magazines at the scene.

The shooter was later found dead in a trailer park less than two miles from the water park and had a history of mental health issues, Sheriff Michael Bouchard said. The investigation is ongoing.

Nash, whose identity was confirmed Sunday by Oakland County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Huber, was found dead. He may have inflicted the gunshot wound on himself, Bouchard said at a news conference late Saturday in Pontiac. He had an “AR platform” semi-automatic rifle and at least one other weapon on the table, the sheriff said.

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A 39-year-old woman suffered gunshot wounds to her stomach and legs and is also in critical condition, Bouchard said. A four-year-old relative was in stable condition after being shot in the thigh and is part of “one family.” The remaining nine victims are in stable condition at various hospitals in Metro Detroit and their conditions had not changed Sunday, Huber said.

“When I got to the scene, I started crying because I know what a wading pool is supposed to be. It's supposed to be a place where people come together and families create memories, where people have fun and enjoy a Saturday afternoon,” Rochester Mayor Bryan Barnett said Saturday night. “… What normally happens in our city didn't happen today.”

Bouchard called the shooting a “punch in the gut” for Oakland County and sheriff's officials after they responded to the November 2021 mass shooting at Oxford High School and assisted other police agencies in the February 2023 shooting at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The Oxford mass shooting left four students dead and seven people injured, while the MSU mass shooting left three students dead and five others injured.

Fear and shock were palpable in the trailer park Sunday morning. Neighbors crowded outside their homes, discussing the chaotic events of Saturday when police entered the development. Plywood hung over the door of Nash's trailer when police entered.

The semi-automatic rifle found on Nash's kitchen table left residents of the Dequindre Estates trailer park wondering if they could have been his next victims. Bouchard said of Nash on Saturday night: “If he had something else planned, it wouldn't surprise me because having something like that on the kitchen table is not an everyday thing. There was probably something else – possibly a second chapter.”

Alex Roser, who lives just a few blocks from Nash's house, felt the same way.

“I wonder what he was planning to do with that semi-automatic rifle,” Roser said. “And I wonder if we provoked him in some way because my kids and I play football in front of his house all the time.”

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Kyleen Duchene has lived in the trailer park for 20 years and lives “in close proximity” to the suspected shooter, who lived with his mother. She said it was disturbing that a semi-automatic rifle was found in the shooter's apartment.

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Neighbor describes scene when police arrived at suspected paddling pool shooter's house

Alex Roser, a resident of the Dequindre Eststes mobile home park in Shelby Twp., describes what he saw when police arrived at Michael William Nash's home.

“He's a loner. The blinds are always down there,” Duchene said.

“I don't know why he decided to go to the water park,” she added. “He doesn't have any children.”

Nash used his mother's car to commit the crime on Saturday, Duchene and Roser said. He normally drives a truck, they said.

What led the police to the motorhome

Oakland County Sheriff's officers were on the scene within two minutes of a 911 call thanks to new technology that speeds up 911 response times, Bouchard said. The Oakland County Sheriff's Office led the investigation because it serves the Rochester Hills City Police Department.

When police arrived at the wading pool on Saturday, they found the registered Glock pistol and a magazine, which helped investigators get to Nash's home, the sheriff said. Shell casings were scattered on the wading pool's walkway and yellow evidence markers were placed for each bullet fired.

Barnett said he remembers texting condolences to the mayors of Orlando, Las Vegas and Dayton, Ohio, after mass shootings in those cities, but he never imagined a mass shooting would occur in this suburban Detroit community of about 76,000 people.

“It's a mental reset. It reminds us that we live in a fragile place with fragile people,” Barnett said. “And it also reminds us to be grateful to the professionals. There were a hundred firefighters and sheriff's deputies out there today.”

Jarrett Schmidt, 43, was visiting his mother's home on nearby Culbertson Avenue when he noticed several cars speeding past him on the residential street. Schmidt, of Rochester Hills, said he drove up the street and found several injured people at the scene of the accident when emergency responders arrived.

Schmidt said he reacted immediately and applied a tourniquet to some of the injured before emergency responders could properly intervene. As a gun owner with a concealed carry permit, he made it a habit to always carry a first aid kit, Schmidt said.

One of the victims, the grandfather of a close family friend, was wounded by several shots in the stomach, Schmidt said.

“He was sitting with his back to the alley,” said Schmidt. “The man came up behind him and started shooting. He basically shot through him to get to everyone else.”

The Glock found at the wading pool was registered and investigators followed the address to the trailer park less than two miles away, Bouchard said. The shooter confirmed that police tried to contact him, but officers were unable to make a full connection with him, the sheriff said.

The shooter may have inflicted a self-inflicted gunshot wound as police surrounded the home, Bouchard said, but officers on the scene did not hear the shot. Nash was found dead after police entered the home with a drone, the sheriff said.

Neighbors think about Nash

Nash was a stark contrast to his parents. Neighbors in the trailer park said he lived with his mother, who was outgoing and friendly. Local residents didn't know much about Nash.

“We still call him a kid, but we just learned on the news that he is in his 40s,” said Duchene, who added that Nash's mother recently traveled across the country.

Roser said mother and son were opposites.

“His mother was super friendly and kind and talkative and nice to everyone she saw,” Roser said. “We never really saw him. He never came out of the house. And when he did, he didn't even say hello back to us when we noticed him. … We're a very friendly community. He just kept to himself. He was very quiet and didn't want to be part of our community.”

Nash's father, Dennis Nash Sr., was a skilled machinist who died three years ago at age 73, according to a Dignity Memorial obituary. The father loved to “hunt and fish” and was “always helping others,” the obituary said. Michael Nash was listed as one of four children, and the wife was Kathryn.

How chaos gripped the park

The police arrived at the trailer park at 6 p.m. at the latest, said resident Kyle LaFerle. He said he left the trailer park around 6 p.m. to run a marathon and “there were about 15 police cars” in the park.

Roser said he was on his way to the grocery store when police came into the trailer park, ran to the shooter's house and surrounded it. Then they ran back and got signs, he said.

When Roser asked what he should do, the police told him to get out of there.

Duchene said she started getting calls about the shooting, and then police showed up with riot shields. Police came and escorted her out her back door, Duchene said. She and others were in their backyards for five to six hours, she said.

“The police come in here all the time, but not in this house,” Duchene said. “But when I saw 500 police officers and the dogs, I knew something serious was going on.”

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Political editor Chad Livengood contributed.