Moving Again/Broad Daylight Armed Robbery


The FOX2 newsvan packs up after collecting footage and testimony from witnesses to a daring, broad-daylight armed-robbery attempt that took place on my block yesterday.

The FOX2 newsvan packs up after collecting footage and testimony from witnesses to a daring, broad-daylight armed-robbery attempt that took place on my block at about 3 PM yesterday.

I mentioned in an earlier post that my first day in Detroit greeted me with a surprise, namely that I was not going to live in the apartment where I had thought I was going to live.  The woman from whom I am subletting my room here in the D had decided to move–how last minute this decision had been, I don’t know, but in any case she didn’t tell me until after I was already here.

Last week, we moved again.  Two doors down from us was an apartment that obviously belonged to a drug dealer, and this made my roommate nervous.  The block where she had lived at her previous apartment, in Hamtramck, had had a similar problem: there had been a guy a few doors down from her who had sold weed for a long time, but recently gotten into selling harder stuff as well (in an economy like this one, we all have to think about priorities), and so there were a lot of haggard, desperate-looking people hanging around after a while.

My roommate assessed the situation at the new apartment, in Midtown, and determined that it was just as bad if not worse than at the old apartment in Hamtramck.  A place opened up just a couple of blocks away, and she decided to take it.

As in the previous move, my roommate did not discuss this with me until after the decision had been made.  Wednesday night of last week, she told me that she had found a place and the move was to begin the following morning.

Now, moving twice in as many weeks is not really something that I would do myself.  But my roommate has lived in Detroit for a long time, so I figure she has a sense about which situations are truly precarious that I just don’t.

It happened yesterday.  I was coming back from Wayne State down Warren Ave., and, after turning left down Commonwealth St., I had the same reaction that I always did: I was entering a different world.  Our apartment is located in the neighborhood called Woodbridge, where the streets are quiet, the houses and lawns are nicely maintained, and there is a higher-than-average number of white people on the street or sitting on their porches at any given time.

A tranquil street in Woodbridge.

A tranquil street in Woodbridge.

The neighborhood has a website,  On the side of a handful of buildings tall enough to be seen from blocks away, the words “LIVEINWOODBRIDGE.COM” appear emblazoned, providing the neighborhood with a series of mini-Hollywood signs.

Between Trumbull Ave. on the East and Rosa Parks Blvd. on the West, Woodbridge at night gives you the feeling of a neighborhood in the middle of a truly deep, replenishing sleep, totally untroubled by fear.  It’s much more like my parents’ old neighborhood in Ann Arbor than, say, the apartment where I lived prior to last Thursday, which is less than two blocks away.

When I turned onto my block, though, I noticed something unusual.  Down the street, there was a police car, a uniformed cop talking to someone and taking notes, and a FOX2 newsvan.

I took this photo, of the last cop car at the scene, shortly after I arrived on the block.

I took this photo, of the last cop car at the scene, shortly after I arrived on the block.

My friend Peter and the boyfriend of a Wayne State student who lives downstairs from me were sitting on the front steps talking.  They were both so excited by something that they both talked without stopping, neither one bothering to wait for the other to stop because, apparently, they didn’t need to, since they were both on the same wavelength.

After I came up to them the last thing I heard them say was, “I know, man, I know,” simultaneously, both shaking their heads and grinning with amazement.

As far as what happened is concerned, I pieced it together after I talked to Peter, my neighbor’s boyfriend, and a FOX2 cameraman down the street who had just finished packing up his camera gear and putting it in their van when I talked to him.

Peter thought that the gunmen had attempted to rob a UPS truck, but he was mistaken, at least according to the FOX2 guy (I think journalists at FOX network affiliates are probably more trustworthy than their colleagues on the Fox News cable channel).  

As Bill Hill explained to us last week, there are about 70 movies in various stages of production in Detroit right now because of a generous tax cut that the State of Michigan is offering movie people in order to entice them here.  

What happened yesterday on my block was that two young men, one 16 and the other 17, used an assault rifle and a sawed-off shotgun (respectively) to rob a film production company, for a movie called Little Murder, starring Terrence Howard, that had been shooting a scene there.

According to the FOX2 dude, the police arrived quickly on the scene after a shot had been fired by one of the perpetrators.  It wasn’t clear why the young man had fired the shot, but it brought, according to my neighbor’s boyfriend, “like 60 police cars” within 30 seconds.

When the police arrived, at least one of them got out of his squad car and started chasing the perps on foot.  One of the two gave up immediately, and the other ran.

That was when my neighbor’s boyfriend got into the game.  He had seen the chase begin through my neighbor’s ground-floor window, and as soon as he realized what was going on he dashed out the door with his dog, a pit bull, in tow.

Somehow, a circuitous chase resulted, in which my neighbor’s boyfriend and his pit bull got ahead of the robber and actually end up being chased by him, while a cop chased them both from behind.

Eventually, the young man turned around and fired at the cop, missed, and then took a bullet in the shoulder when the cop fired back.

Then the young man hit the pavement, wounded but alive, and the chase ended.

When I got there, most of the cop cars were gone, but a few detectives were still hanging out taking statements from witnesses.

The FOX2 guy told me that Woodbridge was a safe area, always had been, and that “in 20 years of doing news in Detroit, I’ve never even seen this street before.”

I guess there’s a first time for everything.

~ by electrorefutedrobo on August 22, 2009.

2 Responses to “Moving Again/Broad Daylight Armed Robbery”

  1. […] least I’m still beautiful!” When I got home last night, I was once again treated to the sight of police standing around on my block.  This time, though, they weren’t […]

  2. […] younger generation in Detroit, some of whom have been grabbing headlines for their involvement in armed robbery attempts against movie crews and the kidnapping of Matt […]

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