A 19-year-old man was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in a series of apparently random shootings over roughly two hours last weekend in Detroit that left three people dead and a fourth wounded.
Dontae Ramon Smith was arraigned later in the day in 36th District Court on the three murder counts as well as other counts, including assault and firearms charges. A magistrate ordered him held without bond.
“It is not an overstatement to say that on Sunday morning … this … defendant reigned real terror on the citizens northwest Detroit,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement while announcing charges. “Normal, everyday life was brought to a standstill as he moved east to his next victim.”
Police spent 12 hours searching for the man and peacefully arrested him Sunday at his home following a tip from someone close to him. Police said a gun was found that matched shell casings at the shooting scenes.
Detroit Police Chief James White has said the man may have a mental illness and “terrorized our community.”
Mayor Mike Duggan has said that the man may have been emboldened after not encountering officers following the first shooting about 4:45 a.m. Sunday when a 28-year-old man was slain less than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from a police station. At that early hour, no calls were made to 911, Duggan said.
The prosecutor’s office said police found the man’s body in the doorway of a church.
About 30 minutes later someone called 911 after finding a woman shot about three blocks from the first shooting. She has not yet been identified.
Another woman, Lari Brisco, a 43-year-old single mother of five children, was waiting nearby for a city bus when she was shot multiple times. Both women died.
Then, about 7:10 a.m., 76-year-old John Palik was shot in the leg while walking his dog. The dog was shot in a paw. Both survived.
Wallace Pleasant told WXYZ-TV that an armed bystander saw the fourth shooting and fired his own weapon at the suspect who then fled.
Williams reported from West Bloomfield, Michigan.