911 calls reveal frantic situation that began 28-hour St. Clair Shores standoff

Payne Lubbers
The Detroit News
Law enforcement block off the area near a barricaded gunman on Saint Margaret St. in Saint Clair Shores, Michigan on July 4.

St. Clair Shores police released 911 tapes from neighbors that began a 28-hour police standoff that left two people dead and injured two others. 

Channita Jackson is heard calling St. Clair Shores police at 10:05 p.m. on July 4 to report that a neighbor had threatened her and her children while the children were using sparklers outside of their home. 

The neighbor, identified recently as Tom Ihlendfeldt, apparently was angered by the Fourth of July celebrations and had threatened to shoot Jackson with a .44 caliber gun after he had aimed a laser beam at the kids gathered outside in the front of the house, she told police.

Jackson said Ihlendfeldt, 58, had entered her house before on one occasion and that she had filed multiple complaints about him. 

"Now, I'm out here, I'm trying to light fireworks with my kids. He's shooting a beam laser across the street. He threatened us with a gun," Jackson said.

Jackson told the dispatcher that she did not see a gun, but Ihlendfeldt had told her: "I got a .44 and you're gonna feel it."

As the dispatcher tried to get Jackson's name and asked if she could return to her house, Jackson became increasingly panicked.

"He has a gun and he's here right now sir," Jackson said, speaking with more urgency. 

"He's going after my brother. No, he's following my brother. He fired the gun. He fired his  (expletive) gun. This man is shooting a gun at my brother," she yells.

Jackson can be heard yelling in the background that Ihlendfeldt had just shot at her door and windows as the dispatcher reassured her that police were on the way.

"Get here now," she said. "You need to get here. now. ... This man is shooting and I have a thousand kids here. My mama's bleeding and there's blood on the windows," she said.

Ihlendfeldt had just shot Jackson's 62-year-old mother and her 12-year-old niece, and the dispatcher asks about who is shot. Police said the injuries were non-life threatening. Jackson said Friday that her mother, who'd been shot inthe bicep, and niece, who was struck in the leg, had been released from the hospital.

The situation became increasingly tense as the dispatcher urged Jackson to stay on the line with him with police on the way to her street.

"He's a dead (expletive). He's a dead (expletive). He's dead. You (expletive) hear me? You'd better get here now. You'd better get here now. I'm not playing. I'm not (expletive) playing," she says.

Other witnesses at the scene call in with similar frantic pleas for help. 

"I don't know the address," a male witness tells a dispatcher. "But we're on St. Margaret. A guy's shooting at us."

"He's shooting at you?" the dispatcher asks.

"Yes, hurry up," the caller says, worried.

"OK, we already have officers on the way," the dispatcher says. "What does he look like?"

"He's a white male, older male," the caller says. "He just went back in his house."

Ihlendfeldt returning to his house would mark the beginning of a 28-hour standoff with police, who surrounded the home and put the block on lockdown throughout the ordeal. On multiple occasions, Ihlendfeldt continued to fire shots at police.

Another caller described what he warned was a basement armory inside Ihlendfeldt's residence.

"Yeah, let them know that he ran into the side toward the van," the caller says. "I don't know if he made it in the house, but I just -- I pulled up in the driveway to my mother's house and I watched him do the shooting. But he has riot guns, M-16s, ARs, AKs and, from what my other buddy just told me, he just went out to Elkton and picked up 100,000 rounds, so I don't know what he's doing, but I'm directly across (the street)."

After hours of negotiations failed to bring Ihlendfeldt out of the house, including attempts to evacuate the house with smoke bombs, flooding the basement and sending in a Michigan State Police robot to survey the inside of the house, S.W.A.T officers entered the home and found the bodies of Ihlendfeldt andCarol Baur.

Police eventually would report that he had killed Baur, 60, and had fatally shot himself.

Authorities said Ihlendfeldt failed to register as a sex offender after molesting a 4-year-old girl in 2006 in a Macomb County case and could have faced years in prison for violating his probation. 

He pleaded no contest to second-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2007 in the case, according to court records and a state official.