Protesters seek answers on ex-Hamtramck cop who allegedly shot son

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Family and friends of Steven Szymanski, whose father is accused of shooting him, demonstrated Monday outside the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office, saying they want to know why a charge against the former Hamtramck police officer was reduced.

Steven Szymanski

Szymanski, 30, of Fraser was wounded in the abdomen, allegedly by his father, Michael Szymanski, a retired Hamtramck Police detective, in a May 24 incident at the elder man’s Macomb Township home.

Michael Szymanski, 56, was taken into custody at the scene around 1:30 a.m. May 24. Initially arrested for assault with intent to commit murder, the father was arraigned last week on a reduced charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, released on $100,000 personal bond and permitted to return home on a GPS tether under house arrest.

Michael Szymanski

“No one will tell us why the charge was reduced,” said Jill Quarker, the victim’s cousin. “And there isn’t even a firearms charge in the case. We have to feel that he is getting preferential treatment.”

About 30 people, many carrying signs reading “Why undercharge?” and “Let a jury decide,” peacefully demonstrated on the street outside the county building on South Main Street for about two hours.

No one at the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office could be reached for comment about the case Monday.

“We will try this case,” said Michael Szymanski's attorney Todd Flood, who declined to provide further details.

Hearings are scheduled for Aug. 4 and Aug. 11 in Shelby Township District Court.

The elder Szymanski retired from the Hamtramck Police Department in 2010 after 25 years. At the time of the shooting, he was a deputy director with Constellis, a security company.

Steven Szymanski spent two weeks in the hospital, underwent two “life-saving surgeries” and lost a kidney, according to Quarker. She said his parents divorced in 1992, and his mother died two years ago. 

“He (Steven) still has the bullet in him,” said Quarker. “He’s doing OK but he’s never going to fully recover.”

According to Quarker, her cousin went to help his father prepare his boat for the Memorial Day weekend on May 23 and participated that night in a gathering at Michael Szymanski’s home involving “liquor, arguments and, finally, the shooting.”

She said it is unclear what the pair argued about but there were others at the home.

“Steven is a kind and nonviolent person,” she said.

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