Police find suspect in Franklin murder dead in Royal Oak home

Police find suspect in Franklin murder dead inside Royal Oak home

Posted: Updated:
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.

  • Taryn AsherTaryn AsherMore>>

  • Man accused of calling taxi to move a body

    Man accused of calling taxi to move a body

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:20 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:20:50 GMT
    A mother is struggling with the fact that her 21-year-old daughter lost her battle with drug addiction, and then she learns the despicable lengths two people went to get rid of her child's body.
    A mother is struggling with the fact that her 21-year-old daughter lost her battle with drug addiction, and then she learns the despicable lengths two people went to get rid of her child's body.
  • Renisha McBride's family leaves courtroom as photos are shown

    Renisha McBride's family leaves courtroom as photos are shown

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:29 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:29:16 GMT
    On day two of the trial for Renisha McBride's shooting death, the final hours of her life and the moments after her death were detailed in court. Thursday the jury heard what Ted Wafer, her accused killer, told police about the shooting that night.  
    On day two of the trial for Renisha McBride's shooting death, the final hours of her life and the moments after her death were detailed in court. Thursday the jury heard what Ted Wafer, her accused killer, told police about the shooting that night.  

  • 1 dead when car crashes into house after driver, passenger shot

    1 dead when car crashes into house after driver, passenger shot

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:30 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:30:13 GMT
    One person is dead and another is injured after a shooting on Detroit's west side. The two victims were riding in the same vehicle, which lost control and crashed into the side of a house after the shooting.
    One person is dead and another is injured after a shooting on Detroit's west side. The two victims were riding in the same vehicle, which lost control and crashed into the side of a house after the shooting.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Worker rescued from trench collapse in Pittsfield Township

    Worker rescued from trench collapse in Pittsfield Township

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:51 PM EDT2014-07-31 00:51:01 GMT
    Emergency crews are at the scene of an apparent trench collapse in Pittsfield Township.
    Emergency crews are at the scene of an apparent trench collapse in Pittsfield Township.
  • Two in custody after search connected to Armada teen's murder

    Two in custody after search connected to Armada teen's murder

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:24 PM EDT2014-07-31 00:24:06 GMT
    The FBI and state police were at a home on Marquette Road in Goodells, Mich. most of Wednesday executing an investigative search warrant related to the murder of 14-year-old April Millsap.
    The FBI and state police were at a home on Marquette Road in Goodells, Mich. most of Wednesday executing an investigative search warrant related to the murder of 14-year-old April Millsap.
  • How honest are we, Detroit?

    How honest are we, Detroit?

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:45 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:45:12 GMT
    A national social experiment took place in Detroit Wednesday and the results will show just how honest we really are.
    A national social experiment took place in Detroit Wednesday and the results will show just how honest we really are.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices