SANILAC COUNTY (WJRT) - (11/20/17) - Alert community members in Sanilac County help deputies track down two men wanted in connection to a deadly home invasion.
The situation started to unfold around 5 a.m. Sunday at a home in the 4300 block of Holbrook Road in Greenleaf Township.
The first 911 call was made by the homeowner. Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki said right away dispatchers were able to tell police the situation was serious.
"People are breaking into my house, I've been shot," Biniecki said, when asked how the 911 call came in.
Two men were inside the home at the time of the break in.
"There was one that was hit and injured at the time of the break in, as the home invasion was occuring, the second resident at residence is the one that returned fire," Biniecki said.
One of the four Flint-area men believed to be involved in the home invasion, died in the home.
The other was found dead in a getaway car. It had crashed a few hundred yards down the road at the corner of Germania and Holbrook roads.
"They went down in the ditch there and they couldn't get out," explained a neighbor who asked not to be identified.
The two other men believed to be in the car ran away before police arrived, but someone else spotted them.
"During the time they were responding there, we received a citizen's call of two people on foot, asking for help and a ride, or to use their phone," Biniecki said.
While police from several agencies searched for the two men, one of them walked out of the woods and turned himself in after spending some time in the elements.
The other made it more than five miles away and asked a farmer to use his phone. The farmer ending up calling police.
The neighbor we spoke to said it's the biggest thing that's happened in his community since he moved in a few years ago. "Surreal, never thought that would happen around here, but nowadays like I said, you don't know."
He watched as police looked for the two men.
"I put my pistol on my side and they had to clear our barn, clear the neighbors," he said.
Monday he spent the day installing a new door. It's something he's meant to do, but Sunday's deadly home invasion sped up the process. "Just for safety of my family, and our belongings," the neighbor said.
He said the home invasion was a reminder to never take your family's safety for granted.
"The homeowner did what's right and that's why people should be able to keep their guns too, it's a very important thing, be able to protect yourself, if they wouldn't of, they'd both be dead, and no one might never know who did what and what happened," he said.
The sheriff's office has not released the names of any of the men involved. We could learn their names Tuesday when the two men who were arrested face a judge for the first time.
Sheriff Biniecki said early in the investigation it appears the home was targeted, but he wouldn't say why investigators felt that was the case.