Detroit— Fed up with crime, some armed Detroiters have developed itchy trigger-fingers — and Police Chief James Craig said lawbreakers are getting the message.
In the latest incident, police say an 88-year-old who was beaten and robbed inside his east side home last week probably thought he was defending himself against attackers when he opened fire Monday on a television news crew.
On Thursday, a woman appeared on his front porch asking for help, and when he opened his door, two men rushed in, assaulted him and tied him up with a phone cord before robbing him of several items.
A reporter from Channel 2 (WJBK) knocked on the man’s door on Arndt Street Monday, and conducted a short interview, although the man, whose name was not released, would not open his door. After a crew from Channel 7 (WXYZ) came onto the man’s porch, he fired a single shot. No one was hurt, and the bullet lodged into a tree.
Police took the man into custody, where he is undergoing a psychological evaluation, Assistant Chief Steve Dolunt said.
“I think he was traumatized; he got beat up pretty good,” Dolunt said. “When the second reporter went onto his porch, he may have thought she was the woman who had tricked him, and he probably thought he was defending himself.”
Dolunt said police are investigating the matter, and it will be up to prosecutors to decide whether to bring charges.
The incident was the latest in a string of homeowners opening fire to defend themselves, although after a flurry of such shootings early this year, before Monday there hadn’t been a reported incident since May 4 — an indication that criminals are thinking twice about breaking into people’s houses, Craig said.
Detroit has experienced 37 percent fewer robberies in 2014 than during the same period last year, 22 percent fewer break-ins of businesses and homes, and 30 percent fewer carjackings. Craig attributed the drop to better police work and criminals being reluctant to prey on citizens who may be carrying guns.