1 dead after police fire shots at knife-carrying suspect in Roseville, sheriff's office says

A 53-year-old Roseville man died after he wielded a knife following a car crash and a Roseville police officer shot him after he lunged at the police, the Macomb County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

Authorities said the unidentified officer fired at least nine shots. The two officers involved in the incident weren't injured and have been placed on paid leave pending the Sheriff's Office investigation.

After a red semitractor-trailer and a gray Chevrolet Silverado pickup were involved in a crash around 6:20 a.m. Tuesday on Groesbeck Highway between Martin and 12 Mile, witnesses started to approach the Silverado to see if the driver was injured, according to a Sheriff's Office statement. 

"The driver produced a knife, and the witnesses could see the driver’s wrists were cut. The witnesses retreated and police were contacted," according to sheriff's officials.

A man later identified by authorities as Frank Robles of Roseville was in the roadway holding a knife when police officers approached and asked him if he was all right, according to the statement that cited witness accounts and video. Robles said no and started toward one of the officers, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Despite being repeatedly asked to drop the knife, the man didn't obey and kept on advancing, police officials said. An officer shot Robles, knocking him to the ground, according to the statement.

"The man attempted to get up from the ground still in possession of the knife. The officer fired several more shots which prevented the male from advancing any further," according to the Macomb County Sheriff's office. A total of nine shots were believed to have been fired, according to the statement.

Police called for medical assistance, but Robles was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. 

The 65-year-old Ohio driver of the semi was uninjured, according to authorities.

The full investigation will be handled by the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, Roseville police Chief Ryan Monroe said. 

“He’s doing me the favor to investigate it, so I’m going to let him release the information,” Monroe said about Wickersham. 

“We’ve only had one other officer-involved shooting in the last four years that I’m aware of," Monroe said. "So I wouldn’t say we’re having a lot of them. I would also say across the country gun violence is certainly on the rise. So it’s not unique to Roseville. It’s more of a national problem than a local problem.”

Monroe and Wickerham have scheduled an 11 a.m. Wednesday press conference to discuss the shooting and provide video of the incident, according to the Sheriff's Office release. 

Robles was a custodian for Roseville Community Schools, Superintendent Mark Blaszkowski said.

"He was a trusted, hardworking individual for us and he will be dearly missed. I had nothing but positive interactions with him personally," he told The Detroit News in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and all that were affected by this tragedy. We do have support staff available for his colleagues if they need someone to talk to."

The incident was the third shooting by a Michigan police officer this week. Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner said MSP is investigating officer-involved shootings that happened Monday in Dearborn and East Lansing.

The East Lansing incident happened at about 6:36 p.m. Monday when East Lansing officers were called to a Meijer store, according to a State Police press release.

"The caller indicated a male subject pulled a gun out of a car, stuck it in his pocket and went into the store," the release said. "ELPD officers arrived on scene and observed a subject in the store that matched the description given by the caller."

Officers chased the man out of the store, the release said. "The officers encountered the subject and shots were fired. The subject was struck and was transported to a local hospital, where he is in stable condition."

A gun was recovered, the release said.

Michigan State Police also were requested to investigate a shooting Monday by a Dearborn Heights police officer, although no details about the incident were released.

In the Roseville incident, police closed the highway, which runs through an industrial area primarily occupied by machine shops, small factories, service companies and auto parts stores, while they investigated. Crime tape was strung from light post to light post and through parking lots and across driveways to cordon off the area.

A Macomb County deputy takes photos of a crash  scene on Groesbeck Highway just north of Martin in Roseville.

Both vehicles had damage from the crash, but the pickup truck's front end appeared completely smashed. Its emergency lights were still blinking late Tuesday morning.

The semi's trailer has several stacks of bricks on it, each covered by a tarp with the word "Belden" printed on it. Some bricks were scattered on the pavement near the truck's wheels.

The pickup rested a few feet west of the semi. Debris from the vehicles was scattered haphazardly over the pavement. Investigators dropped plastic evidence markers numbered 1-15 near the vehicles. 

Earlier, a person who was working at a business near the scene said he heard a crash and then gunshots.

Staff Writers Mark Hicks and George Hunter contributed.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

lfleming@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez