Man suspected of killing grandmother in Warren fatally shot by Toledo police, officials say

Authorities say man tried to reach for officer's weapon

Warren Barstad was killed after allegedly killing his grandmother, police said. (WDIV)
Warren Barstad was killed after allegedly killing his grandmother, police said. (WDIV)

WARREN, Mich. – A man suspected of killing his grandmother in Warren was fatally shot by Toledo police after reaching for an officer's gun, according to authorities.

Damon Austin Barstad, 23, was arrested in Toledo in connection with his grandmother's murder at her home in Warren. He was extradited from Ohio to Michigan and charged with first-degree murder.

Damon Barstad (WDIV)
Damon Barstad (WDIV)

Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer said investigators believe Rene Morrisette, 68, was killed Saturday at her home on Masch Avenue near Stephens Road. Police said Morrisette had not been seen or heard from since that day.

Police received a call from Morrisette's son and went to her home to check on her Wednesday night. They found her dead in the garage. That was around 11 p.m., Dwyer said. Police made their arrest around 3 a.m. Thursday at a Days Inn hotel in Toledo.

Police said Morrisette's vehicle was also found in Ohio, apparently taken by her killer. The vehicle was found at a mall in Toledo with flat tires, officials said.

Rene Morrisette (WDIV)
Rene Morrisette (WDIV)

Dwyer said it appears Morrisette was stabbed to death. She was found in a recycling bin in the home's detached garage. Two knives also were found in the bin. It's unclear if Morrisette was killed in the garage or in the home.

Dwyer said Barstad lived with Morrisette for a short period of time. He said there weren't any reported problems at the home and no calls to 911.

Right now, there is no clear motive for the murder.

"This is an extremely brutal murder," the police commissioner said.

Dwyer said police were certain they had the right suspect.

The Warren police commissioner said this is the fourth murder in the city this year, three less than the seven reported in 2017.

"Still, four too many," Dwyer said. "All four murders were committed by a person who knew the victim, and all suspects were apprehended immediately or within hours of the crime."

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