Father hopes evidence discovered in Dearborn will lead to murder charges against son's drug dealer

Man discovers surveillance video while investigating his son's death


DEARBORN, Mich. – A father distraught over his son's overdose death in Dearborn began investigating on his own and discovered startling new evidence in the case.

The man said he found clues on his son's phone that led him to a parking lot, and then to a surveillance camera. He hopes the video evidence will lead to murder charges against his son's drug dealer.

Police were investigating a 60-year-old man who rode his bicycle near the border of Dearborn and Detroit to sell heroin, but before they could arrest him, one of his customers -- a college student -- overdosed in a parking lot.

The student was a 19-year-old who had moved from Las Vegas to Macomb County for college.

"I got a call that a parent should never receive," the teen's father said. "It was from the Wayne County Morgue saying that a 19-year-old Caucasian man had been dropped off."

It was his son, who Local 4 isn't naming at the family's request. His father was told his son overdosed on drugs, and he felt there must be more to the story.

He found a clue on his son's phone and flew to Michigan.

"I investigated a little bit deeper and found out that this guy, Karl, does exist," he said. "He is a local drug dealer."

According to a federal sentencing memorandum, Karl Shaw is a Detroit resident with a lengthy drug record. The teen's father wanted to find him, so he waited and watched in the parking lot where his son was found dead.

Before he found Shaw, he saw a surveillance camera aimed at the lot and walked into the business.

"She looked at me and she said, 'You're a cop?'" the teen's father said. "I said, 'No.' She looked and she said, 'You must be the father.' I said, 'I am the father.'"

She showed him the video and he saw his son's car and Shaw on a bicycle.

"As I'm watching this video, I'm saying to my son, 'Leave. Go. Get out,'" the teen's father said. "Karl gets in and he was there for about 15 minutes."

Most drug dealers exchange drugs for money in about 15 seconds. According to court records and the video, Shaw stayed in the teen's car for 15 minutes.

"He gave him 100 percent pure fentanyl, which is basically a death sentence," the teen's father said.

He doesn't think the overdose was an accident. He believes Shaw thought his son was snitching to police.

"In my heart, an intentional hit due to the fact that he was told that my son was a rat," the teen's father said. "Whether you can prove that in court is a whole different story."

Police from Detroit and Dearborn investigated the overdose, but there wasn't enough evidence to go to the prosecutor on murder charges. Instead, they went to federal court, where Shaw pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deliver and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The teen's father said he hopes laws are put on the books to go after drug dealers who deliver fatal doses.

"You take a life, you should give a life," he said. "It's as simple as that. Why should this man be breathing and out on the street when my son -- when every time I have to go out to visit my son, I have to go to 10 Mile and stare at the ground."

At Shaw's sentencing, the teen's father told Shaw he took away his best friend in the world. He said he wants to find a way to honor his son by bringing more awareness to the opioid epidemic.

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