2 felons face firearm charges after MSP investigates carjackings near Detroit casinos

Kenneth Gardner, Damon Washington charged with felon in possession of a firearm

DETROIT – Two men face firearms possession charges after Michigan State Police troopers conducted surveillance in connection with several carjackings in Detroit.

Kenneth Martez Gardner and Damon Kristopher Washington were both charged with felon in possession of a firearm.

According to a federal indictment, MSP began investigating three carjackings that happened last week in the area of MGM Grand Casino. A red Dodge Charger was seen on surveillance video following one of the victims out of the casino.

Authorities said the Michigan license plate on the vehicle is registered to Washington. 

Troopers conducted surveillance on the vehicle Sunday. The vehicle allegedly pulled up to a work van in the parking lot of a senior living center on the Chrysler Freeway, and one of the men stole the van. Both vehicles were later seen in the area around both MGM Grand and Motor City casinos.

The vehicles allegedly followed a woman in a 2010 Ford Taurus onto the John C. Lodge Freeway. Authorities said the driver of the van bumped into the Taurus near Forest Avenue. When the woman pulled over, the driver of the van got out and approached her vehicle. Troopers turned on their emergency lights to prevent another carjacking and the driver was taken into custody.

Troopers later identified the driver of the van as Gardner. He was allegedly seen throwing a Smith and Wesson pistol underneath the Taurus. The gun was reported stolen in July.

Gardner allegedly told authorities he was in possession of the gun and that Washington gave him the weapon. He also allegedly told police he bumped the Taurus with the van because he was “trying to trick the driver of the Taurus to stop so that he could rob the driver.”

Washington had previously served time for armed robbery and felony assault with intent to rob while armed. Gardner was previously convicted of felony fleeing a police officer, and felony receiving and concealing stolen property.

It is unclear if the suspects will face charges in the carjackings.

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