Couple sues Allen Park police department over 2009 shootout

By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – A resident is suing the Police Department in federal court for damage to his house he says occurred during a 2009 shootout with a barricaded gunman.

The lawsuit, filed by Michael Merchan and his wife, claims rounds from a March 22, 2009 gunfight between police and his neighbor, Mark David Fussner, ricocheted into their kitchen and dining room and struck their daughter’s bed.

The couple is seeking more than $25,000 in damages in the suit, which also names the Melvindale Police Department and eight of its members, which assisted during the seven-hour shootout, as well as former Allen Park Police Chief Dean Tamsen and 27 other department personnel. The suit accuses them of assault, gross negligence, deprivation of civil rights and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The standoff began when a 24th District Court officer attempted to serve Fussner an eviction notice at his Anne Avenue house. Fussner allegedly shot the approaching officer with small-game pellets and Allen Park officers returned fire. Fussner was later pronounced dead at the scene.

In the suit, Merchan said he called 911 during the shootout and was told to seek cover with his daughter in the basement during a break in the shooting. The complaint adds that officers did not attempt to help him.

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