2 behind bars after deadly "crime spree" - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

2 behind bars after deadly "crime spree" in Flint, Flint Township

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(10/18/13) - One person has been released and two people are behind bars after a deadly "crime spree" that spanned both the city and Flint Township.

One person was killed, another shot and injured and at least two others were robbed at gunpoint.

In his first press conference as Flint police chief, Chief James Tolbert outlined how investigators believe it all unfolded. He also praised the way agencies worked together.

"It's important that you understand and you see how your law enforcement community comes together, combine (sic) resources and were able to avert any more violence from this group of individuals," Tolbert said.

Tolbert said the "crime spree" started with a carjacking, in Flint, around 7:20 Wednesday night and ended about eight hours later.

He provided this timeline:

7:20 p.m. - Carjacking in the 800 block of Welch in Flint

8:50 p.m. - Armed robbery of a 57-year-old man near Illinois and Iowa in Flint

9:20 p.m. - Attempted armed robbery in the 2800 block of Cherokee in Flint

12:35 a.m. - Shooting of a roughly 45-year-old woman near Dort and Leith in Flint.  She's in good condition, according to police.

3:18 a.m. - Armed robbery in the parking lot of Hunter's Ridge Apartments in Flint Township

Police say officers spotted the suspect vehicle nearby and soon had one person in custody near where the vehicle was dumped by Copeman and Milbourne in Flint.  Two others were arrested at another location soon after.

3:26 a.m. - Reports of shots fired near the 500 block of Sheffield in Flint.

7:00 a.m. - Woman finds man's body in her front yard in the 500 block of Sheffield

The break came in what police believe was the final crime, despite the slight discrepancies in times, the armed robbery in the parking lot of Hunter's Ridge Apartments in Flint Township. 

Flint Township Police Chief George Sippert said victim, a resident there, was approached by two people.

"(They) held a gun to this throat and stole from him numerous items," Sippert said.

The victim saw a dark SUV.

It was the same sort of vehicle described after reports of shots fired on Flint's westside around the same time.  Tolbert said even though the time those shots were reported suggests this crime occurred after the Flint Township armed robbery, investigators believe it did occur before.

Deb Bassett said she heard those shots.

"(We) couldn't see anything out the window," Bassett said. "You don't go outside when you hear gunshots. You just don't."

Nearly four hours later, Bassett found a man's body in her front yard on her way out the door to work. 

Even worse, she says she recognized the man.

"I was hoping like crazy it wasn't him," Bassett said. "I saw it when they took him. When they turned him over it was him."

Her front yard and normally quiet westside neighborhood, watched and maintained, had a strong police presence Thursday.  Police were on scene, on Sheffield off of Beecher, for hours.

"It's a good neighborhood," Bassett said.  "This is a fluke. This is somebody who came into our neighborhood and harmed somebody who was a neighbor in our neighborhood."

Carolyn Gerhard lives down the block.

She says she left her former home because of crime like this, because of gunshots like the ones heard in the early morning hours.

"That's 13 years ago, but I had to get out of that neighborhood," Gerhard said. "It's horrible. I can't imagine.  I hope the police will get to the bottom of it."

Police continue to investigate and called on the public to call in anything they know about any of the crimes.

If you have information, call Flint Police D/Sgt. Brett Small or Michigan State Police D/Sgt. Bryce Willoughby at 810-237-6900.

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