PONTIAC, MI – Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched on Thursday February 1st, 2018, at approximately 11:30am, to 360 W. Sheffield Ave., the Aluminum Blanking Company, on a report of a subject who entered the business armed with a long gun and opened fire. The Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team was activated to respond and officers from the Auburn Hills Police Department (AHPD) and Waterford Twp. PD also responded to assist.
The Sheriff’s Operations Center further advised the suspect, identified as Vernest James Griffin, 45-years-old, of Sterling Heights, matched an earlier BOL that had been broadcast by the Taylor Police Department for a subject wanted in connection of a homicide in their city approximately an hour prior. He is accused of murdering 60-year-old Keith Kitchen.
Deputies and Officers cleared all 3 buildings in the complex and determined that Vernest Griffin had fled the scene but located a victim, Eriberto Perez, a 58 year-old man, a resident of Waterford Township suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
Eriberto Perez was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene via telemetry from a local hospital.
While Deputies were still on scene Officers from the Waterford Township Police Department (WTPD) were dispatched to a business in their community on a report of a subject entering the business on Lessing Rd. armed with a long gun. The business was reported to have gone into lock down. Vernest Griffin fled the scene with no reported injuries and no shots fired. A WTPD police officer located and pursued the responsible during which the subject fired multiple rounds at the pursuing officer.
The pursuit ended near the intersection of Dixie Highway and Frembes, in Waterford Twp. where the responsible was involved in a traffic crash. The subject exited his vehicle armed with a long gun (AK-47) and engaged the Waterford Twp. Officers. During that exchange, Vernest Griffin was struck by gunfire and taken into custody.
The Sheriff’s Office Forensic Laboratory was notified to respond to the Sheffield address and the scene of Waterford’s Twp. arrest at Dixie Highway and Frembes. A multi-jurisdictional investigation is underway with Waterford Twp. PD, Taylor PD and the Sheriff’s Office. The case will be presented to the Oakland County Prosecutors Office this weekend for charges.
Vernest Griffin is currently listed in critical, but stable condition at an area hospital and he is still unconscious at this time but he is expected to recover. Detectives will attempt to interview him when he regains consciousness.
Griffin was recently out on $5,000 bond after being arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and felony firearm in December 2017.