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Michigan splash pad shooter identified as 42-year-old 'loner' going through 'mental health challenges'

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The 42-year-old gunman who left nine people injured after opening fire at a children’s splash pad in Michigan over the weekend is now being described by neighbors and officials as a “loner” who was “undergoing some mental health challenges.” 

Michael Nash was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Saturday after police traced a firearm recovered at the scene in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills back to a home he shared with his mother in Shelby Township, according to Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. Inside that property, he says investigators found a semi-automatic rifle lying on the kitchen table. 

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“I believe that because we had quick containment on him, that if he had planned to do anything else – and it wouldn’t surprise me because having that on the kitchen table is not an everyday activity – that there was probably something else, a second chapter, potentially,” Bouchard said during a press conference. “Obviously, we will be looking for any evidence or manifesto or anything that would give us an inclination of what may be driving this individual prior to this terrible moment.” 

“It’s our understanding that apparently he was undergoing some mental health challenges, but no one that we are aware of was notified,” Bouchard also said, describing that Nash had no prior criminal history. 

MULTIPLE INJURED, INCLUDING 2 CHILDREN, IN MICHIGAN SPLASH PAD SHOOTING 

Officials with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, the Rochester Hills Fire Department and other jurisdictions secure the scene of a shooting at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad on Saturday, June 15 in Rochester Hills, Michigan. (Katy Kildee/Detroit News/AP)

Neighbors at the mobile home community where Nash lived told the Macomb Daily newspaper that he was a “loner” who always kept his home’s blinds shut. 

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The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office identified Nash as the suspect on Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

“My spidey senses tingled whenever I was around him,” one neighbor, who identified herself as Carol, said to the newspaper. “There was something about his demeanor that didn’t set right with me. I didn’t think he was that nuts, but anyone who would shoot a child, something’s wrong with him.” 

“We don’t know what his plans were,” another neighbor, Michelle Wheeler, told Macomb Daily. “Some of the neighbors thought maybe he wanted to do something to us, but nobody was around, so he left. Who knows, it could have been one of us that was shot.” 

8 INJURED IN MASSACHUSETTS POP-UP PARTY SHOOTING 

Police investigate Detroit-area splash pad shooting

Police say 28 bullet casings were recovered at the scene of the shooting in Rochester Hills, Michigan, on Saturday. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News/AP)

The developments come as a GoFundMe page identified two of the victims as Micayla and Eric Coughlin, who apparently were shot while trying to protect their daughters, ages 2 and 7 months, on Saturday afternoon. 

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“Shortly after grabbing ice cream they walked to the splash pad and were not even there for a minute when Micayla and Eric heard gunfire,” the page said. “In an effort to save their children, they each grabbed a child to protect them.” 

“In total, Micayla and Eric sustained seven gunshot wounds,” the GoFundMe page added. “They are hospitalized and undergoing necessary treatment. Because of their heroic actions, their children were protected and able to go home that evening.” 

Bouchard told reporters Saturday that 28 bullet casings were recovered at the scene of the shooting and that the victims had no known connection to Nash. 

Michigan splash pad shooting investigation

Police say there were no connections between suspected shooter Michael Nash and the victims. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Two of the victims have been identified as an 8-year-old boy in critical condition and a 4-year-old in stable condition as of Sunday, according to the AP.

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Detroit, MI

Grosse Pointe will be setting for new NBC drama about murder and mischief in garden club

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Grosse Pointe will be setting for new NBC drama about murder and mischief in garden club


Get ready for Grosse Pointe’s best starring role since the 1997 film “Grosse Pointe Blank.”

NBC announced Friday that it is given a series order to “Grosse Pointe Garden Society,” a drama starring Melissa Fumero (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), AnnaSophia Robb (“The Carrie Diaries”), Ben Rappaport (“Outsourced”), Aja Naomi King (who just received a supporting actress Emmy nomination for the limited series “Lessons in Chemistry”) and Nancy Travis (“Last Man Standing”).

The series is about four members of a garden club in the Detroit suburb who “get caught up in murder and mischief as they struggle to make their conventional lives bloom,” according to the network.

NBC announced in February that it had ordered a pilot for “Grosse Pointe Garden Society” from executive producers Jenna Bans and Bill Krebs, whose previous credits include NBC’s “Good Girls.”

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Also set in Michigan, “Good Girls” starred Christina Hendricks, Retta and Mae Whitman as three metro Detroit mothers who turn to crime when they become overwhelmed by money woes. It ran from 2018 to 2021.

According to Deadline, there is no decision yet on whether “Grosse Pointe Garden Society” will debut during the 2024-25 season.

Contact Detroit Free Press pop culture critic Julie Hinds at jhinds@freepress.com.



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Milwaukee, WI

RNC 2024: Did Milwaukee convention sway local voters?

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RNC 2024: Did Milwaukee convention sway local voters?


The Republican National Convention ended Thursday night.

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From the attempted assassination of Donald Trump and the convention that followed, to calls from Democrats for President Joe Biden to drop out of the race – voters are now left to make sense of a historic week of American history.

Conventions usually lead to a boost for that party’s nominee in the polls. The campaigns put their chosen message out to the world, and arenas get packed full of excited, loyal supporters. There’s a rock concert atmosphere, as well as speeches from celebrities and some of the biggest names in politics.

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The American Presidency Project keeps track of changes in support after political conventions. When comparing poll averages, those boosts do usually take place – but the score often evens out, since both parties get a chance for that convention bounce.

The Democratic National Convention will take place next month in Chicago.

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Swing city, swing state

FOX6 wanted to gauge how the week’s events played out in battleground Wisconsin. In Ozaukee County, Cedarburg has become a swing city in a swing state. Here is what some voters there had to say:

Tom Just, Cedarburg voter for Democrats: “It’s a show making Donald Trump now look like the attempt on his life, now he’s changed. Well, if you listen to his speech, he spoke differently in the beginning, and then he went right back to Donald Trump.”

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Julie Carver, Jackson voter for Trump: “It cemented my decision, and actually, I was kind of on the fence. I am voting for Trump. I don’t like a lot of the things he does, but I do like the policies. And I do remember what it was like four years ago.”

Cedarburg voted for Trump in 2016, voting Republican as it had in previous elections. In 2020, though, Biden won the city by just 19 votes – turning blue in a strongly red Ozaukee County. 

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Minneapolis, MN

OPINION EXCHANGE | Policing in Minneapolis: Reform, it seems, is always around the corner

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OPINION EXCHANGE  |  Policing in Minneapolis: Reform, it seems, is always around the corner


Opinion editor’s note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes a mix of national and local commentaries online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.

•••

There are bad cops; we know from public reports. Some 85,000 of the nation’s officers have been disciplined or investigated for misconduct over the past decade.

In Minnesota, more than $60 million was paid out between 2010 and 2020 to victims of problem policing, while across the U.S. settlements have cost local governments $3.2 billion. The staggering payouts haven’t been enough to rein in cowboy cops.

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There are good cops, of course. But scant research and varying opinion on what makes a good cop leaves us with subjective supposition, not evidence, that a majority are.

Just because an officer hasn’t been disciplined doesn’t make that cop “good.” If, say, a “good” cop sees a partner using needless force and covering it up with a false report, is that first cop still considered “good” if nothing’s said?

Minneapolis’ Third Precinct has been called a “playground” for renegade cops. Surely, cops have long known the precinct’s dubious reputation (it housed those involved in George Floyd’s murder), but they remained quiet and their union even defended some officers’ egregious acts.

Many will recall when Minneapolis police, in the presence of invited reporters, rammed front-end loaders into North Side houses of suspected crack-cocaine dealers, mostly Black, only to stop after media cameras showed too many holes punched into wrong houses. There wasn’t an audible whimper from “good” cops, while suburban police largely ignored widely available powder cocaine.

There’s the familiar public safety exhort: “See something, say something.” But it seems too many cops crouch behind the “blue wall of silence” and ignore misconduct they witness. By any definition, this isn’t “good.”

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As Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara recently told Harper’s Magazine, “People really, really want police protection. They just want good police officers.” Well, yes.

Problem policing in Minneapolis has history. In 1945 the city’s new mayor, Hubert Humphrey, vowed to reform a force riddled with mob-connected corruption and cops openly engaged in despicable discrimination against Black and Jewish people. Humphrey largely routed the mob, but his 1948 election to the U.S. Senate cut short his drive to rid Minneapolis of pervasive discrimination, called among America’s worst.

Ever since, reform has been in the banner of policy promises by a parade of political aspirants who, once in office, mostly fail due to stiff pushback by police and their union. The result is a culture that tolerates rogues amid systemic reticence to ensure accountability.

Then there’s “warrior” training where camo-clad, helmeted and heavily armed cops learn military-style tactics to use against citizens. While such training was banned in 2019, a state report later found that “aggression” training persists (the defiant police union offered “warrior” training for off-duty officers). All that and broad evidence of cops’ inability to de-escalate confrontation contrasts with the stenciled message on squad cars, “To Serve With Compassion.”

Then, too, there’s crime’s undeniable foundation: poverty. Into the 1960s the Twin Cities was a hotbed of discriminatory lending in housing and practices that artificially created impoverished neighborhoods where folks, mostly Black, remain trapped to this day with scant ability to build intergenerational prosperity.

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Sociologists agree and data show that concentrated, persistent poverty breeds crime. Patrick Sharkey of Princeton University said in the same Harper’s article that while some see crime as lawless disorder requiring more police, it’s really “injustice and inequality” that requires determined commitment that for way too long has been mostly nonexistent.

Policing in impoverished areas is challenging, given broad distrust of cops whose ever-present fear often results in overly aggressive confrontations. There’s a reason why Black kids get the parental “talk” about tempering behavior when stopped by police, and why Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice concluded, after yearslong reviews, that the MPD has created a racist culture while failing to hold misbehaving cops accountable.

An exhaustive review by the Minnesota Reformer revealed a range of troubling behaviors at MPD, with complaints sometimes taking years to resolve. In the meantime, accused officers remain on the job, even promoted — as complaints pile like migrating fish against a dam.

An attempt to pare the backlog is a 15-member commission that made scant progress reviewing cases during its first year (72 new complaints joined 189 in the queue).

At the same time, surveys show most cops want swift resolution of complaints, while experts say the presence of undisciplined cops is a contagion that infects others.

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What makes a good cop? Police themselves say it’s recruiting candidates who show compassion and a willingness to learn and grow, who are then trained in making a positive presence, in de-escalating confrontation and in promoting good policing — where cops say something when they see it.

Seems easy enough, but reformer Tony Bouza, named chief in 1989, found after nine years that even simple reform required more support than he had or could muster.

The MPD’s O’Hara is the next best hope to instill good policing. At least he has the force of state and federal consent decrees to bring about elusive reforms, along with greater managerial oversight in a new police union contract approved Thursday.

O’Hara’s worthy start includes a data-based “early intervention system” to identify officers who need counseling, and to block problem cops from rising in the ranks. He’s also pushing extended training in good policing.

A new Office of Community Safety has organized Behavioral Crisis Response teams of unarmed counselors who respond to calls involving mental and health issues, and supports community-based programs to interrupt cycles of violence.

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There’s predictable resistance in officer ranks and the always-testy police union. But with a lucrative and otherwise favorable new work contract with the city along with continuing public demand for improved policing, it’s clearly time for all those “good” cops — which O’Hara says are a “vast majority” — to step up and get behind long-overdue change.

Reforms, that really must include urgent attention to shamefully persistent poverty, are expensive. So are taxpayer millions paid to settle cases of bad policing.

Ron Way lives in Minneapolis. He’s at ron-way@comcast.net.



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