High-tech crime solving links teen in fatal shooting of Detroit woman, police say

Hannah Mackay
The Detroit News

Detroit — The family of a 53-year-old Detroit wife and mother shot and killed last month after stopping at a party store on her way home from work said it means "everything" that police have charged a suspect, but they'll never have closure.

Bradley Thurman, 19, has been charged in the fatal shooting on Detroit's west side Dec. 28 of Tracie Golden with premeditated first-degree murder, felony murder, armed robbery and felony firearm, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

He is held at the Wayne County Jail on a $4 million cash bond.

The suspect allegedly robbed a Family Dollar store the day after Golden's slaying, crimes Detroit police and other agencies said they pieced together with video of both events, how the suspect walked and other factors to identify a suspect.

"It means everything to me and my family," said John Golden, Tracie Golden's husband, who lauded investigators who have "been working since December 28 up until this point."

"I really appreciate it," he said. "It is not over and I will never have closure because my angel is not here."

19-year-old Bradley Thurman was arrested on Jan 13. and charged with first degree murder, felony murder, five counts of armed robbery and seven counts of felony firearm in connection with the fatal shooting of Tracie Golden on Dec. 28.

White detailed the lengths investigators went to to find a suspect, linking a Family Dollar store robbery on Seven Mile as the same suspect in the Golden case after finding Golden's SUV in the dollar store parking lot.

"The investigators were alerted to that robbery and paid very close attention to a number of different things with regards to that robbery," White said.

That included the suspect's gait — "how he walked" — and connecting the dots to the separate crimes.

“We would not have been able to take the suspect into custody without a Real Time Crime Center," White said, referring to Detroit's 24-hour crime monitoring station. "Our analysts and our officers, our investigators, our detectives that simply cared enough to look at everything, every robbery, every situation that we had in the city, things that I'm not even at liberty to talk to you about, to connect the dots on this case.”

Golden, a health care worker, was on her way home on the night of Dec. 28 when she stopped at the Beverage One party store on the 19300 block of Grand River. An assailant shot Golden in the chest and drove away in her charcoal gray 2018 Dodge Journey after stealing other valuables. Police responded to the scene around 10:42 p.m. Golden died of her injuries at a hospital.

"Ms. Golden did what any of us would do and take for granted every day, she stopped at a store in her neighborhood on her way home from work," White said. "Unfortunately, she was victimized by someone who had no respect for her. No respect for themselves. No respect for our community and no respect for life."

White stressed the work of his department and the collaboration of other agencies in finding a suspect.

"We're not going to just sit back and let people victimize people like Miss Golden and this beautiful family who no longer have her with them," White said. "We are going to relentlessly, unapologetically pursue people who victimize our community, period.

"You're not going to out-work us, not going to out-think us."

The day after Golden was killed, police found Golden's vehicle in the Family Dollar parking lot.

The Detroit Police Homicide Gang Intelligence and Violent Crime Task Force partnered with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to connect the party store slaying and the dollar store robbery. It led to Thurman, White said. He was put under surveillance and arrested Jan. 13.

Golden's death was random, said Devin Kowalski, assistant special agent in charge with the FBI Detroit.

"The combined interagency response to this heinous murder undoubtedly prevented additional acts of violence in our communities by this offender," Kowalski said.

White said he hopes that identifying the perpetrator brings Golden's family some degree of peace.

John Golden, who attended Tuesday's press conference, said he broke down when he heard the news that a suspect had been apprehended. He said he felt relieved and happy but that he is left without his partner in life.

Tracie Golden, 53, of Detroit was on her way from work when she stopped at a store on the city's west side and was fatally shot and her car was stolen. A 19-year-old suspect has since been charged with murder.

His wife was "a rock" for a lot of people, he said, and he and their daughter will carry on her legacy of helping others through adversity.

"She loved everybody, she cared about everybody, she would help everybody. Even the young man that did this senseless crime," Golden said. "It's going to be hard, but there's no closure, not to me. This is something that we will have to live with for the rest of our lives."

hmackay@detroitnews.com