The Detroit police chief called a barbershop shooting “urban terrorism” after a gunman in body armor opened fire, killing three and injuring six, inside the storefront where up to 30 people were gambling.
“It is certainly tragic and it rises up to one of Detroit’s more violent incidents,” Police Chief James Craig said at a televised news conference Thursday. “It is certainly a violent act and what I am calling, urban terrorism.”
One “person of interest” has been apprehended, Craig said.
Craig told reporters that he could not give many details because the case is under investigation. But he gave the broad outlines of the shooting that began Wednesday evening at Al’s Barber Shop on the city’s east side. Between 20 to 30 people were in the store engaging in gambling activity when a man wearing body armor entered and began shooting. At least one person inside the shop returned fire.
The exchange of gunfire seems to be connected to a feud involving the gunman and several members of the gambling party, Craig said, avoiding details.
“We cannot comment on specifics of this case,” he said. “We are very much early in the investigation.”
Police responded within one minute of receiving the emergency call, Craig said. The shootings were probably over in about the time it took police to respond.
The shooter fled but was apprehended later in Rochester, part of metropolitan Detroit. The unidentified man is being held on an unrelated felonious assault warrant and is considered a person of interest in the barbershop shooting but has not been charged, Craig said. He is being held by officials on the charge outlined in the warrant.
Initial reports indicated that there may have been more than one gunman. Craig said police were still investigating the number of shooters involved and how many rounds had been fired.
Craig would not discuss why the gambling had been going on at the barbershop. Nor would he say whether any gambling charges were pending.
He did say that police were interviewing witnesses who had seen at least one gunman wearing body armor and that could lead to a federal charge.
“It’s unusual and tends to suggest things,” Craig noted. “Police officers wear body armor. Why a community member would, raises a number of questions.”