Facebook Live helps police peacefully resolve 5-hour standoff on I-75
MONROE, MI (WNWO) - An early morning car chase in Michigan turned into a 5-hour long standoff in the middle of 1-75.
It all started around 4 AM when deputies with the Oakland County Sheriff’s office in Michigan received a 9-1-1 call. The person on the line was concerned a loved one was having suicidal thoughts. The deputies were able to find the man’s vehicle, but he fled when they tried to pull him over.
The 37-year-old Pontiac man, who has not been named at this time, lead the officers on a car chase south on I-75 through Wayne County and into Monroe County. The man broadcast the chase on social media.
“During the pursuit," said First Lieutenant Tony Cuevas, "the suspect was using the Facebook Live Application to broadcast the fact that he was suicidal. That he was going to kill law enforcement. Also, that he was armed.”
The man also called media outlets in Detroit and told them the same thing. During the Facebook live, Michigan State Police were able to confirm a pistol was in the man’s vehicle.
Police used stop-sticks to disable the man’s tires just north of Luna Pier. The suspect barricaded himself in his car in the middle of the I-75 southbound lanes.
Cuevas explained, “Barricaded gunman situation- generally time is on law enforcement’s side. We have the assets, we have the time, we have the resources to be out here as long as we necessarily have to be.”
The police were in negotiations with the man for approximately 5 hours, at one point using a bag phone they tossed him after his cell phone died. Traffic was backed up for miles in both directions, and a detour was set up using Dixie Highway.
Around 11:30 AM, the suspect tossed the police his gun and surrendered. No exact word on what negotiators said that finally talked the man down, but police say the Facebook live did help them understand his thought processes.
“It did give us a snippet of his mentality. We knew that what we had as far as intell about him wanting to commit suicide was validated from his own statements, so it actually worked out in our favor.”
After a health evaluation, the man was charged with “Resisting Arrest” and ”Fleeing and Eluding Police.”
Cuevas commented, "we want to makes sure that if he is suicidal, that he gets the treatment and the help that he needs.”
After the standoff, both lanes of northbound I-75 and one lane of southbound I-75 were reopened. The other lane of south bound was closed until a tow truck could remove the man’s car.