Lapeer County Deputies rescue barricaded gunman while in a House Fire

NORTH BRANCH TOWNSHIP, MI – On Saturday February 24th, 2018, at 5:58 PM, Lapeer County 911 received call from a relative of a 50 year old male that lives on Martus Road in North Branch.

The relative had phone conversations with the 50 year old who relayed his intentions of harming himself. There was concern that the house was on fire because activated smoke alarms were heard within the background.

Lapeer County Sheriff’s Deputy William Osborne arrived at the residence and no smokes or flames were initially visible. The individual was observed through a window from the exterior attempting to lite a fire. Sight of the individual was lost due to smoke quickly filling the interior of the residence.

Deputy Osborne approached the residence. Deputy Osborne and Reserve Deputy Morris heard the rack of a shot gun and the male verbally ordering them not to enter the house. A perimeter was established and the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Special Response Team (SRT) was activated due to this evolving into a barricaded gunman.

Around 6:30 PM, Deputy Mike Tappen established contact with the individual through a basement window. Negotiations transpired between Dep. Tappen and the individual. The negotiations were highly successful and the individual surrendered his shot gun by throwing it out the window. The individual refused to leave the residence and invited Deputy Tappen inside.

Deputy Tappen entered the residence through the basement window exposing himself to smoke and flames. Deputy Tappen was able to push the individual through the basement window while Deputy Osborne and Sgt. Jeremy Herfert pulled his arms from the exterior. The individual and Deputy Tappen were removed from the active residential structure fire.

North Branch and Deerfield Township Fire Department extinguished the structure fire. The individual was transported to McLaren in Lapeer for treatment which included burns and smoke inhalation (non-life threatening injuries). Later, the individual was transport to Hurley Medical Center in Flint. Deputy Tappen was not injured during the rescue.

The incident remains under investigation by the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office. Lapeer County Sheriff’s Detectives and Michigan State Police Arson Investigators visited the residence on Monday 02-26-2018. It is anticipated that the investigation will be presented to the Lapeer County Prosecutor’s Office within the near future.