Police shoot and kill suspected arsonist after chase, crash

Police fatally shoot suspected arsonist in Salem Twp. after chase, crash

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Wrecked Ford Ranger pickup truck driven by the suspect.  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Wrecked Ford Ranger pickup truck driven by the suspect. (Credit: Fox 2 News)
NORTHVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJBK) -

A dramatic police chase ended after 18-year-old Gabriel Stevenson, behind-the-wheel of a red Ford Ranger pickup truck, lost control on an icy roadway and crashed into Kevin McGraw's home near Six Mile and Dixboro Road.

"I threw on my shoes and jacket and came out to see if I could help whoever crashed in here, and the cops were on the PA telling me to get back in my house," said McGraw.

The early morning drama started several miles away at Six Mile and Napier Road.  Northville Township police officers in the area on patrol came across the red truck.  It was unoccupied.  A short time later a call came in that a car was on fire in the same location as two arson fires reported in early December.  That's when the officers spotted the suspect driving away.

"At that point a traffic stop was initiated by Northville Township officers.  After a brief discussion with the suspect, the suspect pulled a revolver and shot one round at the officers and Northville Township officers returned fire," said Public Safety Director John Werth.

The suspect's bullets just missed the officer and shattered a mirror on the police cruiser.  Michigan State Police joined in.  They followed Stevenson for several miles before he crashed his truck into McGraw's house.  He tried to break into the home through a window, but failed.  That's when we're told the teenager turned his attention to the police officers.

"A knife was seen by the suspect.  Northville Township officers used the less lethal force, which is a bean bag weapon, and shot him four times with that weapon," Werth said.  "That did not stop him.  What ensued after that is the suspect came at one of the officers and he was fatally shot and he was pronounced dead at the scene."

It was a Michigan State Police trooper that fired the fatal shot.  He has been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which is standard protocol.  We're told dash cam video will show that the shooting was justified.

We did reach out to Stevenson's family.  They declined to comment at this time.

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