CAPAC, Mich. – Michigan authorities have launched a manhunt for a reckless driving suspect accused of shooting Capac's police chief and a sheriff's deputy. They say he's believed to be armed.
Officers staked out a house where they thought the suspect lived and fled to after the shootings, said St. Clair County Sheriff Dan Lane. But after more than five hours, they stormed the house Wednesday evening, only to find it empty.
"It's very disappointing. We thought we had him inside," Lane said. Police earlier had failed to reach the suspect by calling the phone at the home and with a phone tossed into the house.
Lane identified the suspect as Don Burke, a white man about 50 who is 5-foot-11-inches with a pronounced limp. Authorities were seeking a warrant charging Burke with assault with intent to murder and possession of a firearm in a felony, Lane said.
Lane said he believed Burke had a firearm with him but didn't say if it was the rifle used to shoot the officers.
The shooting happened about 2:15 p.m. in Capac, about 45 miles north-northeast of Detroit.
Chief Raymond Hawks underwent surgery at Port Huron Hospital, while Deputy Tim O'Boyle was treated and released, Lane said.
Hawks was in critical condition, said hospital spokeswoman Sherry Sheleny.
The sheriff said Hawks was pursuing a reckless male driver with whom he had problems in the past, expected trouble and called for backup.
The suspect entered the house and Hawks called for a tow truck to remove the suspect's car. But when the suspect saw the truck he came out of the house with a rifle and started shooting, Lane said.
The house is about four blocks from the small community's downtown.
The suspect's wife was believed to be at work at the time of the shooting, and investigators questioned her at another location, Lane said.
Hawks was shot at least twice, with wounds to his shoulder and chest area. O'Boyle sustained a grazing wound to his head, Lane said.
Joe Mellen, 53, said he has known Burke for about four decades and graduated from high school with Burke's brother.
Burke was unemployed and had been for a while, according to Mellen, who said he has known Burke for four decades and graduated from high school with his brother.
Mellen, 53, said nothing seemed wrong with Burke when Mellen saw him Saturday.
"I am totally bewildered and shocked," Mellen said. "He just doesn't seem like the guy."
A nearby junior and senior high school was locked down until about 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, senior Ruben Nino, 17, said.
"Everyone had to stay inside and lock the classrooms," he said.
His mother, DeAnna Nino, 44, went to the school after learning of the lockdown.
"I was worried about him getting out," she said.
Authorities also called nearby homes and advised residents to remain inside until officers came by to get them out.
Hawks grew up in Capac and became police chief after retiring from the police department in Pontiac, Lane said. He said O'Boyle was a 25-year veteran of the sheriff's department.