Man’s death likely an accident

Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — Police are waiting for a medical examiner’s report on what is believed to be the accidental death of a 27-year-old man who’d spent a night partying in a local business.

Brian Whitaker, 27, was found by his wife early morning Aug. 13 at USA FIreworks, 1173 Dix. She called 911 after breaking into the store with a hammer, and was performing CPR when police and Health Link responders arrived. Whitaker was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to police reports, Whitaker had been at the store since Monday, working a shift with a friend. Sales had been slow, and they closed the business and began drinking, playing guitars, and at one point during the night shooting at targets with a handgun.

Whitaker’s friend told police he had gone to sleep in his car in the parking lot about 4 a.m., as he had been too drunk to drive home.

Police found bullet casings at the scene, but said there was no evidence of homicide or assault on Whitaker. The cause of death remains awaiting confirmation from the Wayne County medical examiner’s office and a toxicology report.

(James Mitchell can be reached at