Security officer fatally shoots man armed with knife

Tom Greenwood and Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Dearborn Heights — A court security officer fatally shot a man brandishing a knife Thursday inside the Dearborn Heights Justice Center.

The man was shot after lunging at the security guard around 8:45 a.m. while trying to avoid the building’s lobby screening process, according to Mayor Dan Paletko.

The man was identified late Thursday afternoon as Mark David Henning, 48, of Dearborn Heights.

No officers or other civilians were hurt in the incident. The building at 25637 Michigan near Beech Daly houses the police department and 20th District Court.

The investigation has been turned over to the Michigan State Police, which is interviewing witnesses and reviewing videotape.

State Police Lt. Michael Shaw confirmed late Thursday afternoon that the weapon was a large knife.

“He attacked with a weapon, that’s where we’re going to leave it right now,” he said. “He side-stepped security, he was confronted by security guards and he’s now dead.”

Henning entered the building through the front doors, where metal detectors are set up about 10-15 feet into the lobby, Shaw said. The court is on the west end of the building and the police department is on the east side.

The shooting likely was caught on surveillance videos set up in the lobby, Paletko confirmed.

“Video doesn’t tell everything, as we all know,” Shaw said. “A lot of the information we get, we’ll get from the people who were actually in the room at the time and saw it occur.”

The security guard who killed the suspect is privately employed by the court, Shaw said. There was no further information immediately available on the guard’s identity or employment history.

Shaw said investigators are checking into reports the suspect came into court with another person.

“There is no second person that I’m aware of,” he said. “There’s no danger to the public, there’s no suspect at-large. The one individual that we’re looking at is with us, deceased.”

“I cannot even confirm that he had business with the court.”

The body of the suspect has been turned over to the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, which is scheduled to do an autopsy Friday.

State Police also plan to contact the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, he said.

The police department remains “100 percent functional” while court is suspended following the incident, Poshadlo said earlier Thursday.

The court will reopen on Friday.

“The residents of Dearborn Heights stand united in our support of the men and women in uniform who work tirelessly to keep us safe,” said Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights.

Shortly before 1 p.m., officials towed a gray pickup from the building’s parking lot. It remained unclear how the vehicle could be connected to the incident.

Westwood Community School District buildings were locked down Thursday from about 9-10:15 a.m., according to Superintendent Sue Carnell.

Dearborn Heights resident Sherry Matthews, 64, arrived at the building just before 9 a.m. to accompany a friend to court. “When I pulled up to the parking lot, all the entrances and exits were blocked,” she said. “The only people I saw go in were three officers who pulled up and went running into the building with their guns drawn.”

Matthews described the guns as large, assault-type weapons.

Other officers then began letting people out of the building and had them take one exit from the parking lot, she said. The officials noted each motorist’s plate number and driver’s license information.

“I don’t know if they thought they were witnesses or what,” Matthews said.

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