Police find suspect in Franklin murder dead in Royal Oak home

Police find suspect in Franklin murder dead inside Royal Oak home

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Police on the scene in Royal Oak where a murder suspect was found dead inside a home. Police on the scene in Royal Oak where a murder suspect was found dead inside a home.
Harry Berkowitz was a longtime teacher with Birmingham Public Schools. Harry Berkowitz was a longtime teacher with Birmingham Public Schools.
FRANKLIN, Mich. (WJBK) -

A longtime schoolteacher was murdered inside his Franklin home.

Harry Berkowitz taught thousands of students throughout his 46 year career. He was a well loved, eccentric teacher, who connected with his students on a personal level.

Berkowitz spent his career in the Birmingham school district teaching fourth and fifth graders at West Maple Elementary where the district will now offer counseling for students and staff.

"He was very compassionate, caring, really taking care of the kids and making sure that they learn and they understand, and his style of teaching was actually very different. He just adjusted it for every single kid in the class," said parent Clara Sagan.

"We'll live this a day at a time, and again I can't underscore enough that our commitment will be to provide whatever help is needed," said Birmingham Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Daniel Nerad.

Berkowitz didn't show up for school on Tuesday. Franklin police contacted the superintendent alerting the district the 72-year-old had been murdered.

The suspect? Berkowitz's longtime, live in friend, 33-year-old Thomas Ian Matthews. Police believed he had made his way after the murder to his mother's house less than a mile away on Pickering in Bloomfield Township. Franklin police surrounded her home.

"I noticed that there were quite a number of policemen with guns drawn," said neighbor Frank Messing.

Matthews instead headed to a house on Sprague in Royal Oak. According to neighbors, it belongs to his ex-girlfriend.

Matthews' black Audi with the license plate "TYUDOWN" was parked in the driveway. Police surrounded the house and attempted to make contact in a standoff that would last nearly six hours. Eventually a robot was sent in and cleared the scene. SWAT teams entered the house and found Matthews laying on the bed dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Police have not release any details yet on how Berkowitz died. They said that the Oakland County medical examiner will make an official ruling in the coming days.

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