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The police warn of fundraising scams

The police warn of fundraising scams

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Police are warning the public about possible fundraising fraud after a shooting at a splash pad outside Detroit injured nine people and left the community reeling.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office warned against donating to unverified fundraisers after nine people were shot during an active shooting at Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad in Rochester Hills on Saturday.

The suspected shooter fled the scene and later took his own life in a home.

“This is a terrible scene that has been repeated too many times in our country and unfortunately affects our city today,” Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan K. Barnett said on Facebook.

Some victims were left in critical condition, including an 8-year-old boy, the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, reported Sunday.

As of Sunday, all victims remained hospitalized, the sheriff’s office told USA TODAY.

Other Father’s Day weekend shooting: Eight injured after shooting at ‘pop-up’ party in Methuen, Massachusetts

Fundraising scam

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office warned the public that fraudulent GoFundMe pages had been created, claiming they were raising money for the victims.

“The bottom feeders are already dealing with it,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook. “We will investigate any form of fraud and encourage the public not to donate to anything or anyone in the names of victims unless you see it verified as legitimate by the sheriff’s office.”

A GoFundMe claimed it was raising money to help a victim, his pregnant wife and children. But neither the man nor his family are victims, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

More than $15,000 was raised online.

“I encourage anyone interested in making a donation to contact the sheriff’s office first,” Bouchard said in a statement. “If there are legitimate sites, we will let the public know.”

What happened?

Around 5 p.m. Saturday, a gunman fired 28 bullets at families spending the warm summer day at the splash pad in Rochester Hills, a city nearly 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of downtown Detroit.

The splash pad, an open area with several sprinklers for children to play in, was closed Monday and will remain closed until further notice, the city said.

Who are the victims?

According to the Detroit Free Press, the following victims are in critical condition:

  • Boy, 8, in critical condition: Suffered a gunshot wound to the head
  • Woman, 39, in critical condition: shot in the abdomen and thigh

The gunman also shot a 4-year-old boy in the thigh and a 78-year-old man in the abdomen. They are both said to be in stable condition.

Eric and Micayla Coughlin, a husband and wife from Rochester, were shot a total of seven times while protecting their daughters, ages 2 and 7 months. The girls were protected during the shooting thanks to the efforts of their parents and were able to return home that same evening, according to a GoFundMe created by the couple’s friend and verified by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

A mother, her two sons and the wife of a city employee were also shot.

There were originally reported to be eight victims, but after local hospitals were called, police found the latest victim and increased the number to nine, the sheriff’s office said in an email to USA TODAY.

Who was the suspect?

Editor’s note: If you or someone you know may be struggling with thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach someone with the lifeline for suicide and crisis. They are available 24 hours a day and offer services in multiple languages.

The suspect has been identified as 42-year-old Michael William Nash. He had no criminal history and lived with his mother. The police assume that he had psychological problems.

Nash had no connection to the victims, and Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard described the shooting as “very random” and “bizarre.”

Nash was recovered from a home in Shelby Township. SWAT teams surrounded the home and attempted to make contact with Nash, but the suspect died by suicide inside the home, Rochester police said on Facebook.

Detectives are investigating possible motives.

Moving forward

Rochester Hills will provide mental health services to victims and families affected by the shooting, the website said.

“To assist in the recovery process, (Oakland Community Health Network) has opened a Family Assistance Center at the Rochester Hills Department of Public Services, 511 E. Auburn Road, where counselors will be available Monday through Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. ,” it said. “No appointment is necessary.”

Affected families who are unable to reach the center can call 800-848-5533 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to access the service.

“One can also connect to the Michigan Crisis and Access Line by calling 988, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or through OCHN’s non-emergency Behavioral Health Access Department at 248-464- 6363, Monday through 8 p.m. Friday,” the city said.

Julia is a trending reporter for USA TODAY. She has covered a variety of topics, from local businesses and government in her hometown of Miami to technology and pop culture. You can contact her at LinkedIn or follow her further X, formerly Twitter, Instagram And TikTok: @juliamariegz