Suspect with toy gun releases hostages, surrenders at restaurant on Detroit’s east side
Detroit — An hour-long standoff at a Detroit coney island ended late Tuesday when the suspect released six hostages and surrendered to police.
No shots were fired.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig credited a Detroit Police Department special response team’s “tremendous restraint” for the peaceful conclusion. The suspect entered the Gratiot Grill about 7 p.m. through a back door carrying what appeared to be an assault rifle.
According to initial reports, at least six people were taken hostage at the restaurant, located on Gratiot at McDougall on the city’s east side, including employees and diners. According to Craig, the suspect, 22, was armed with a “replica” or “toy” that appeared to be a real gun.
The hostages included a child, about 2 years old, who was seen coming out of the restaurant accompanied by an adult female about a half-hour after the incident began.
Many in a large crowd who gathered near the restaurant clapped and cheered when they saw the child was safe.
An emotional Viola Mincey, 51, said her niece had been among the hostages. “My niece is OK,” Mincey said.
Family members of the suspect were also at the scene, including a sister. According to Craig, the suspect has a history of mental illness, for which he was treated as recently as last week. The sister assisted the police by communicating with the suspect, Craig said.
“We used her at the end so (the suspect) could hear a familiar voice,” Craig said.
Craig said the suspect would be taken to a local hospital.
Craig said he knew of no connection to the suspect and restaurant. “We don’t think it was personal,” he said.