Fake GoFundMe site for slain officer nets arrests

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Several people were taken into custody Wednesday on Detroit’s east side after investigators uncovered a fake fundraising website for a slain Detroit police officer.

The Detroit Police Department had received a tip about a bogus GoFundMe account launched in the name of Sgt. Ken Steil. The 20-year veteran who headed the 9th Precinct special operations unit died last weekend, days after he was shot, allegedly by a 21-year-old man wanted for two shootings and a carjacking.

After obtaining a search warrant about the phony fundraising, authorities descended on a home in the 11000 block of Courville at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Donakowski said.

“Inside the location we had evidence of other fake GoFundMe accounts, as well,” Donakowski said. “During the investigation there were also several marijuana plants in the backyard.”

A male in his 20s at the residence was arrested. Another male there, identified as his brother, was detained for questioning, Donakowski said.

But that wasn’t all. During the probe, the men’s mother arrived in a car “and was driving at a high rate of speed and almost struck one of our officers,” Donakowski said.

She also was arrested and taken to the Detroit Detention Center.

It wasn’t immediately clear when charges would be filed.

Police also are investigating whether a marijuana growing operation was housed at the home.