Warren grandmother murder suspect killed while trying to take Toledo officer's weapon, police say

Damon Barstad accused in death of Rene Morrisette

WARREN, Mich. – A man suspected of killing his grandmother and leaving her body in a recycling bin was killed by Toledo police when he tried to take an officer's weapon, according to authorities.

Neighbors on Masch Avenue in Warren were shocked over the brutal murder.

Rene Morrisette, 68, was found dead around 11 p.m. Wednesday, according to police. Her grandson, Damon Austin Barstad, 23, is accused of killing her and leaving her body in a recycling bin, police said.

Rene Morrisette (WDIV)
Rene Morrisette (WDIV)

Morrisette's son called Warren police Wednesday night after he hadn't heard from his mother since Saturday, officials said. When police checked the home, they discovered Morrisette inside the bin in the garage.

Warren police Commissioner Bill Dwyer said two knives were also found in the container. He said Morrisette had been stabbed several times in the neck.

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

Police believe she was killed Saturday at her home.

Within hours overnight, police tracked down Barstad at a Days Inn in Toledo. He was taken into custody around 3 a.m. Thursday, police said.

Damon Barstad (WDIV)
Damon Barstad (WDIV)

Barstad was in court around noon and charged with first-degree murder.

Toledo police said Barstad charged officers around 12:30 p.m. as they opened his holding cell. During the struggle, Barstad was shot once by an officer, according to authorities.

Barstad died at the scene, police said. He was not handcuffed at the time fo the shooting and had gotten control of an officer's Taser, police said.

Detectives are continuing to investigate the incident.

About the Authors: