Suspects in a series of Pontiac drive-by shootings since January arrested

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

A team of local and federal authorities arrested seven men over the weekend believed responsible for a series of violent incidents and drive-by shootings dating to January.

Three suspects were charged with multiple felonies Tuesday including conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. A fourth suspect, 19-year-old Immanuel Gates, is sought in a Jan. 3 shooting in which a 19-year-old Sterling Heights man and a 21-year-old Rochester Hills man were wounded.

Four other men in custody are expected to be similarly charged this week in what investigators believe is possibly a series of street shootings between rival groups. They are not being identified until charges are made against them.

Immanuel Gates, 19

“These extremely dangerous individuals needed to be taken off the street and held accountable,” Bouchard said. “Attempting to apprehend one of the suspects shows how violent and dangerous they are. He rammed a police car while trying to flee and was in illegal possession of a loaded firearm.

"Most of them have prior illegal gun possession charges and yet they were still out on the street," said Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. "These are exactly the individuals that are causing large amounts of gun violence in communities across America. Until it is re-established that possession and use of guns illegally will carry a stiff penalty, this violence will continue to grow.”

Bouchard said detectives spent months following leads.

In the latest arrests, four suspects wearing dark masks and armed with several guns, including an AR-15 assault rifle, were arrested in a traffic stop in Pontiac on Saturday.

The Jan. 3 incident that led to the arrest of three men happened shortly after 1 a.m. in a public parking lot near Wayne and Lawrence. Detectives assigned to the Sheriff’s Directed Patrol Unit, Fugitive Apprehension Team, Pontiac substation, and state and federal agents arrested three men involved in a January shooting, which took place a few blocks away from 50th District Court in downtown Pontiac.

The four men allegedly attempted to ambush the occupants of a car, firing repeatedly as it drove behind the Waterman Building at 91 N. Saginaw St. The scene was captured on surveillance video. Four hours after the shooting, detectives located a gray minivan at a gas station at Featherstone and Martin Luther King Boulevard in Pontiac occupied by four men whose clothing descriptions matched those of the subjects involved in the shooting, police said. A spent shell casing was found in the van, which was later determined to match shell casings found in the downtown shooting, they said. The four men were questioned but denied involvement in the shooting and no charges were authorized at the time.

Anthony Curry, 18

On Saturday, detectives had information that linked Gates and three other men — Anthony Curry, 18; Marcus Clark, 20, and Omario Pate, 18 — to the minivan and allegedly with guns in their possession, according to police. Within eight hours, detectives had arrest warrants and began looking for them. The men were taken into custody from locations in Pontiac.

Marcus Clark, 20

Curry allegedly tried to avoid capture by driving away and rammed a police vehicle, police said. A .40 caliber handgun allegedly was found in the vehicle near Curry’s feet.  All are charged in a 12-count felony warrant with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, carrying a concealed weapon, assault with intent to murder and possession of a firearm while in the commission of a felony.

Omario Pate, 18

Curry and Clark have prior convictions for carrying a concealed weapon. Pate was on bond from Wayne County Circuit Court on a concealed weapons charge. The three men were arraigned Tuesday before Pontiac 50th District Chief Judge Cynthia Walker. Curry and Clark are held without bond in the Oakland County Jail. Pate is being held on $1 million bond.

A probable cause conference is set for Nov. 30 at 1:30 p.m., with a preliminary examination set for Dec. 7.

 A reward of up to $1,000 is offered for information leading Gates’ arrest. Any with information about his whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP or 911. Callers will remain anonymous. Gates is believed to be armed and dangerous.

(248) 338-0319.