Officers were called at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday to the 5900 block of Woodhall, where a 19-year-old man allegedly got into an altercation with his parents over getting help for mental illness. (Tony Briscoe / The Detroit News)
Detroit — After celebrating Memorial Day together, a tight-knit military family is mourning the loss of an active-duty airman who was gunned down Tuesday morning on the city’s east side by his fiancee’s mentally ill son, police said.
The incident happened shortly after Johnny Clyburn, 41, arrived at his home in the 5900 block of Woodhall at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday after working at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
Police say an altercation broke out between his fiancee’s 19-year-old son and the couple after they argued with the teen about seeking therapy for his mental illness. The teen, they said, fatally shot Clyburn and fired at his 39-year-old mother, hitting her twice. She was initially listed in critical condition, but was upgraded to temporary serious condition Tuesday night.
The suspect apparently moved in with his mother and Clyburn about three months ago from Florida, where he stayed with his father, relatives said.
“You can’t tell unless you’ve lived with him,” Brenda Clyburn, the victim’s mother, said about the suspect’s mental illness. Family members said he was schizophrenic.
He was expected to return to Florida in June but told family members he didn’t want to leave Detroit.
Police caught up with the suspect about 9 a.m. near Seven Mile and Mac Crary, arresting him after a foot chase.
Sgt. Michael Woody said the suspect was expected to be taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital, where he would undergo a three-day psychological exam.
Joseph Clyburn Jr., the victim’s older brother, ducked Tuesday under yellow police tape as homicide investigators continued to examine the crime scene. After rushing to speak with an officer, the brother, a retired Army veteran, began crying.
The two followed in the footsteps of their father, Joseph, and joined the military, he said. Johnny Clyburn, whom his family members described as a “hero,” served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard.