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Man charged after allegedly pointing rifle at police

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

A 23-year-old Livonia man was arraigned Wednesday on multiple charges after he allegedly pointed a rifle at police during a traffic stop, prompting the officers to open fire.

Joseph Frank Carlton was charged with felonious assault, resisting and obstructing, felon in possession of a firearm, felony firearm, operating while intoxicated (second offense), and driving with a suspended license, according to Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

He was arraigned in 16th District Court after being taken there from the hospital, where he received treatment for two non life-threatening gunshot wounds.

The incident unfolded after an officer responded to a 911 call around 2 a.m. Sunday reporting a suspected drunken driver in a white Ford Explorer, almost striking another vehicle and swerving severely in and out of traffic.

The officer located the driver in the area of Interstate 96 and Farmington and initiated a traffic stop further north on Lyndon Street and Farmington, after observing Carlton driving erratically.

A second officer arrived at the scene as backup, officials said.

“As the first officer approached Carlton’s vehicle it is alleged that Carlton pointed a rifle outside the driver side window at the officer,” Miller said in the statement. “The first officer immediately backed away from the car with the second officer near him.

“Carlton pointed his weapon at the first officer and both officers, fearing for their safety, fired their weapons at him.”

Carlton was ordered out of his car, at which point officers noticed he had two non life-threatening gunshot wounds. He was placed under arrest and taken to a hospital for treatment.

He was arraigned Wednesday immediately following his release from the hospital. He was given a bond of $1 million cash/surety and is due back in court April 21.

(313) 223-4616


Staff Writer Christine Ferretti contributed.