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Former MLB pitcher with Detroit Catholic Central ties sought in woman’s killing found dead

Associated Press

Scottsdale, Ariz. – A former professional baseball player sought in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend in a Phoenix suburb was found dead Saturday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the Grand Canyon, police said.

The body of Charles Haeger, 37, was discovered about 4 p.m. on a trail along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona, Sgt. Ben Hoster, a Scottsdale Police Department spokesman said in a statement Saturday night.

Haeger played baseball at Detroit Catholic Central High and was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 2001 MLB Draft.

This undated photo provided by the Scottsdale Police Department, in Arizona, shows Charles Haeger. Police in a Phoenix suburb say the unoccupied vehicle of Haeger, a former professional baseball player sought in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend, Friday has been found near Flagstaff in northern Arizona. Scottsdale police Sgt. Ben Hoster said police have probable cause to arrest Haeger on suspicion of murder and aggravated assault.

Police were seeking Haeger on suspicion of murder and aggravated assault in the fatal shooting Friday, Hoster said. 

The victim was identified by police Saturday night as Danielle Breed, 34. Breed owned The Tipsy Coyote Bar and Grill in Scottsdale, the Arizona Republic reported.

Earlier Saturday, Haeger’s unoccupied vehicle was found near Flagstaff in northern Arizona, police said. Flagstaff is 118 miles (190 kilometers) north of Scottsdale.

According to mlb.com, Haeger was a pitcher drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2001, and he played 83 innings in the major leagues. His career included stints with the Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers organizations.

Hoster said investigators determined that a male roommate of the victim heard gunshots when he returned to the residence Friday and that moments later Haeger emerged from the victim’s bedroom with a handgun.

“Haeger then pointed the handgun at the roommate. The roommate quickly escaped out of the back of the residence, and he was able to get a neighbor to call 911,” Hoster said in a statement.

Responding police found the victim dead in her bedroom, Hoster said.

Haeger, who was born in Livonia but grew up in Plymouth, made his way back into baseball in 2004 as a knuckleball pitcher after leaving the game briefly in 2003, according to a 2012 Detroit News story. He pitched two seasons (2006-07) with the White Sox before landing with the San Diego Padres in 2008.

The right-hander moved up the coast the following year and linked up with former Dodgers pitcher Charlie Hough, who helped Haeger refine his knuckleball, during two seasons in Los Angeles from 2009-10.

Haeger signed a letter of intent to attend Central Michigan but opted to join the White Sox organization straight out of high school, making his pro debut at 17 in the Arizona Rookie League.