Investigators seek motive in deadly Walled Lake shooting rampage amid QAnon claim

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Walled Lake — Oakland County Sheriff’s detectives are still looking for a motive in Sunday’s shooting in Walled Lake that left a woman and the family dog dead, a daughter seriously wounded and ended with the killer dying in an exchange of gunfire with police.

Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Monday investigators are pursuing information, including reports from another teenage daughter not home at the time, that 53-year-old Igor Lanis was depressed over former President Donald Trump’s failed re-election bid and upset by conspiracies spread on the internet by QAnon and others. Investigators removed a cellphone and other electronic devices belonging to Lanis and plan to study them for possible motives, police said.

Preliminary results from autopsies indicate Lanis and his 56-year-old wife, Tina, both died from gunshot wounds. Lanis suffered fatal wounds by separate weapons fired by officers when he exchanged gunfire outside the house on Glenwood Court.

The Walled Lake home where Igor Lanis was fatally shot by police after he came out the front door with a shotgun and allegedly started shooting at the officers on Sept. 11, 2022. Before shooting at police, the man allegedly shot his wife to death and shot his daughter, who suffered "super-traumatic injuries," according to Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.

The daughter, Rachel Lanis, 25, was initially listed in critical condition but was upgraded to stable condition after surgery, a sheriff's spokesman said Monday.

A relative answering the phone at the house Monday declined to discuss the family or answer questions. The father of Tina Lanis also told The News Monday it would “not be appropriate to say anything at this time.”

When reached Sunday night, Rebecca Lanis told The Detroit News the Walled Lake family's life used to be "perfect." She missed the shooting by "dumb luck" because she was at a friend's house for a birthday. 

In an interview with The News and on social media posts, Rebecca Lanis blamed the shooting on her father's declining mental health and obsession fed by conspiracy theories.

“Yep. The internet ruined him,” she posted on the QAnonCasualties subreddit page designed to support people who have lost loved ones "who have been taken in by ... QAnon."

"It's really so shocking but it really can happen to anybody," Lanis told The News on Sunday night. "Right-wing extremism is not funny, and people need to watch their relatives and if they have guns, they need to hide them or report them or something because this is out of control."

Bouchard said authorities can only speculate on how QAnon factors into the motive at this time.

“Much is being made about him in the past year reportedly ‘going down a QAnon rabbit hole regarding conspiracies,’” said Bouchard. “That may very well be true, but we can only speculate on how that led up to him shooting his wife, daughter and dog. What could they have in relation to one another? This seems like a mental health motivated incident.”

An evidence technician's marker to show inches and centimeters next to a bullet hole is affixed to the hood of this vehicle across the street from the alleged shooter's house, Monday afternoon, Sept. 12, 2022.

Bouchard said the shooting "is an unbelievably horrific act."

“It is so sad on so many levels but due to the response and professionalism of our dispatch, the Walled Lake officers and Oakland County Sheriff’s Office deputies at least one victim was saved. We will actively pursue information to gain insight into what set this into motion.”

Deputies and Walled Lake police were dispatched to the residence on Glenwood Court about 4:11 a.m. Sunday. The caller, later identified as Rachel Lanis told dispatchers her father had just shot her and his wife. Although Bouchard said she was too traumatized to provide other information — including an address for the home — sheriff’s dispatchers were able to “triangulate” the area of the call and deputies and police arrived at a nearby address within 5 minutes.

As they were in foot in the area, deputies heard a gunshot and approached the house. Lanis exited from the front door and fired at a Walled Lake officer with a Remington 870 shotgun, striking a marked patrol car, another vehicle and a residence behind him. No one was injured from those shots. A Walled Lake officer and a sheriff’s deputy returned fire, fatally wounding Lanis.

Authorities confirmed that patrol car cameras videotaped the shootout between Lanis and officers and the tape “clearly showed” Lanis came out of the house shooting and the officers defended themselves. Lanis was fully dressed and had car keys in his hand but no one is certain where he intended to go or if he was just fleeing the house.

Deputies discovered Rachel Lanis trying desperately to crawl from the home. She was dragged to safety and she told her rescuers her father had shot her and her mother. The mother’s body was found during a search of the home. She had been shot multiple times in the back and it appeared she was wounded while trying to flee out the front door. The family dog, believed to be a great Pyrenees, was shot multiple times and was killed.

“I believe officers saved her (Rachel’s) life," Walled Lake Police Chief Paul Shakinas said Monday. “While they were still trying to determine the extent of what was going on inside that house, they were able to carry her to a patrol car, which then drove her to an ambulance arriving in the neighborhood that rushed her to a hospital for medical attention.”

Shakinas noted it was the first officer-involved shooting in his 16-man department’s 68-year history. He stressed department records do not reflect there have been any police contacts with Lanis or runs to his address where has lived since 1995. Lanis has no criminal history, police said.

Bouchard said when the wounded daughter can be interviewed, she may hold answers to what happened at 4 a.m. on Sunday.

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