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Shooting Outside YMCA Rattles Royal Oak Neighborhood

No one hurt after one person fires a shot into the air, sending dozens of people attending a family gathering running into the neighborhood and police officers combing the area.

Residents were alarmed late Saturday night when they heard a gunshot in the area of the YMCA on 11 Mile Road in Royal Oak and saw people running around their homes in panic.

Royal Oak Police Lt. Thomas Goad confirmed a single gunshot was fired into the air on Saturday evening and said no one was hurt in the incident.

A large private party was taking place in a rented space at the  facility that night. An argument broke out during the evening and a group of individuals was asked by the hosts to leave, Goad said.

“They came back and another argument ensued,” which involved some pushing and shoving, he said.

After leaving a second time, the group went across the street and one of the individuals fired a gun into the air, Goad said.

“There were no injuries from the pushing and shoving that took place inside the YMCA and no injuries caused by the single shot that was fired in the air,” he said.

Goad said one person was arrested for the incident and was issued a ticket for the unlawful discharge of a firearm. No further details were available this morning and Goad could not say whether the person was still in custody.

Residents concerned

The incident upset some local residents who found strangers on their porches and in their yards when the incident occured and found their neighborhood swarming with police.

Carl Rummel lives across the street from the YMCA and said it's his understanding that the shot was fired just feet from his house.

He started hearing activity around 10:30 p.m. "We heard a lot of commotion outside in the street that lasted about a minute, minute and a half. We heard the shot, then everything got quiet," he said.

When he opened his front door, Rummel said, he found six to eight people either on his front porch, at the sides of his house or running into his backyard.

"At that point, wave after wave of cop cars were coming and there had to have been 50 to 60 people, most went westward down 11 Mile," he said.

Rummel said police established a perimeter and were searching extensively in the area, looking into cars and searching for weapons underneath a weed barrier in his backyard.

"It was a crazy situation. Everyone is concerned," he said.

John Cortez said he looked out his window around 11 p.m. Saturday and saw multiple police cars near the corner of Fourth and Hendrie, more police cars at Fourth and Woodward and several people being detained by police.

“There were also police vehicles zooming up and down the surrounding streets with lights on, spotlights on,” he wrote in an email to Royal Oak Patch. “I went outside and asked a female police officer what was going on. She said they were ‘looking for some kids’ and to go back inside and lock the doors and call if I saw anything or anyone in the yard, etc.”

The officer indicated there “may have been a shooting at the YMCA,” Cortez said.

Rummel was frustrated by the information he could get about the incident from the police. "I visited the Y and the police station and I got more information from the Y. The police said they had a report and would issue a press release (Monday) morning, but I haven't seen anything yet," he said early Monday afternoon.

"We don't feel safe until we hear they arrested someone," he said.

Lt. Goad said police spoke with as many of the neighbors as possible in the area that night and the following day, and anyone seeking information is welcome to contact him.

“We did an extensive canvas of the area and spoke with several of the neighbors,” he said.

YMCA to review procedures

Dan Maier, executive vice president of the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, said he is working with staff to review procedures for renting the facility.

The Y was being used for a private party rental at the time of the incident and was not open to the public. The individuals involved in the dispute were not YMCA members or participants, Maier said.

“We’re making sure that whenever we have an event outside we do a very thorough vetting and making sure they are there for the right reasons,” he said. “When something occurs out on the streets it’s often out of your control.”

Maier said the YMCA is waiting to receive a copy of the police report to find out more about the incident and who was involved.

“There’s always something you can learn and always something you can do better,” he said.

Maier applauded the Royal Oak Police for its prompt and thorough response to the incident and is grateful no one was hurt.

“Nothing is more important to any of us than the safety in our community,” he said.

Royal Oak Patch will update this story as more information becomes available.

Rick November 28, 2011 at 11:45 PM
We Royal Oakers used to think of ourselves as "All American", and our city as this country's most "All American" community. Revellers packin' heat are not our style. Neither is firing shots in the air our method of settling disputes or breaking up altercations. Is it too much to ask of the writer that the "ethnicity" of this group be disclosed....or has an all-pervasive political correctness denied us this right? I think that is an important element to this story, and that we all have a right to this kind of information. It seems like Royal Oak is changing....and not for the better...with lightning speed...and I want to know if this incident is becoming typical, or if it was just a fluke...just a case of renting out a facility to the wrong group.
Doug November 29, 2011 at 03:23 AM
Is it too much to ask of the commenter what the "ethnicity" is of all three of Royal Oaks homicide suspects? I think that is an important element to those stories, and that we all have a right to this kind of information.
Carl Rummel November 29, 2011 at 01:42 PM
Carl Rummel here. I would like to clarify that I do not feel "frustrated" by what I regard to be a lack of information from police. I understand that police have their reasons for not releasing certain details at certain times - reasons such as compromising an investigation, or jeopardizing the privacy or safety of an individual. However, keeping the community informed as much as possible in the wake of a crime helps residents to understand what is happening around them, and creates a greater sense of safety and well-being. Communicating fully and clearly with the residents also creates a stronger relationship with the community. So, I find no fault with the police - I have always found them to be prompt, courteous, and effective during my 13 years in Royal Oak. Saturday was no different, as they performed their duties with the utmost professionalism, even with the troubling knowledge there was a shooter, or shooters, hiding in the midst, and they were dealing with a rather large crowd. That being said, a better word to describe my feelings would be "curious," simply wondering why more information is not being disseminated through the police department in this matter, and during the recent murder investigation.

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