Gunman launches killing spree in Taylor

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR – A man who may have planned a “killing spree” fatally shot his first victim, a 60-year-old manager, at 10:30 a.m. at BSD Linehaul, 24420 Pennsylvania Road, police said.

WDIV Channel 4 said Taylor Police Chief John Blair described the suspect as a “disgruntled employee who had problems previously” at BSD Linehaul, who “came back for some sort of vengeance.”

Blair also told WDIV there was a pending criminal investigation into an incident that occurred when the man returned to the building after his employment was ended in November.

WJBK Channel 2 identified the suspect as Vernest James Griffin, 45, of Sterling Heights.

After the initial shooting in Taylor, the suspect left his vehicle in the lot, hijacked a semi-tractor trailer at gunpoint, and headed to Pontiac, where Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said a second person was killed an hour later, at Aluminum Blanking Co. in Pontiac.

WWJ Channel 62 reported that the man killed in Pontiac was Eriberto Perez, 58, who was shot multiple times in the back.

Later, at a third business, Assured Carriers in Waterford Township, the suspect sought a third person, who was not at the location.

Around noon the suspect was involved in a crash in Waterford, where two women in the car he struck suffered non-life threatening injuries. He then engaged in a gun battle with police, during which he was shot, taken into custody, and treated for non-life-threatening wounds at a hospital.

Channel 2 News reported that Bouchard said the suspect “had a list of people who aggrieved him in the past and he was going to kill them.”

Channel 2 News also reported that the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office recovered an AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifle and more than 200 rounds of ammunition.

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at sue.suchyta@yahoo.com.)