SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – A family is stunned and heartbroken after a 23-year-old man killed his grandmother inside a Southfield apartment with a gun that had been stolen years ago in Farmington Hills, police said.
Southfield police Chief Elvin Barren said officers were called at 11:23 p.m. March 24 to the Legacy Place apartments at 22500 Saratoga Street.
Desjuan Tyree-Anthony Mack, 23, of Southfield, called 911 and told police that he had fallen asleep and woken up to find Margaret Alice Mack, 72, of Southfield, unresponsive and cold to the touch, according to authorities.
He told them that he had last seen her about an hour before making the call, officials said.
When Southfield police arrived, they determined that Margaret Mack had been shot several times. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
“The suspect continued to provide conflicting information as it relates to even their relationship,” Barren said. “He initially described her as a family friend, gravitated to an adoptive grandchild, and then, ultimately, we discovered that he was a biological grandchild of Mrs. Mack. When suspects demonstrate this type of behavior, what we find is they’re typically trying to separate themselves from the victim, whether it’s emotional separation or physical separation.”
Officials learned that Desjuan Mack lived with his grandmother but had only recently returned from out of state.
Southfield police said they identified him as the primary suspect in his grandmother’s murder. They found a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol hidden under a couch pillow and determined it had been stolen out of Farmington Hills in 2018, according to authorities.
Spent shell casings confirmed the pistol as the weapon used in the murder, according to the chief.
“The motive is still unclear,” Barren said. “We believe it began with some type of argument or disagreement and then escalated into this senseless crime.”
Desjuan Mack was arraigned Monday (March 28) on charges of open murder and felony firearm. He is being held without bond.
He is scheduled to appear in 46th District Court at 9:45 a.m. April 7.
Barren said Mack has a prior domestic violence charge from 2020 in Minnesota.
‘Why’d our son do this?’
Barren said police have interviewed Desjuan Mack and still can’t determine a motive in this case. He is not being cooperative with the investigation, the chief said.
“This makes really no sense why a 23-year-old would harm not only an elderly (person), but their own grandparent who this family describes as a loving grandmother who’s done pretty much everything a grandmother could do for him,” Barren said.
Courtney Mack, the victim’s daughter-in-law, said Margaret Mack had four sons and a healthy relationship with everyone in the family.
“Margaret Mack was a God-fearing woman,” Courtney Mack said. “She had four sons that she loved dearly. She spoke to her sons every day. She was a loving grandmother. She has a lot of grandkids. This one, in particular, lived with her throughout his life. She always took care of him. She was very close with his other siblings. She treated his mother as her own daughter, and they never argued, and she never had disagreements and arguments with him or any of her grandchildren.”
She said Desjuan Mack’s father -- the victim’s son -- was at the hospital with another one of his children when the family found out about the incident.
“You have to tell someone that your mother is gone and that your own son did it,” Courtney Mack said. “He doesn’t understand. He said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘She did everything for him.’ All through middle school, all through high school he lived with her, had all the game systems in the room -- anything that he wanted.
“She loved him dearly.”
Courtney Mack said the suspect’s parents were talking on the phone, trying to figure out, “Why’d our son do this?”
Family members said Desjuan Mack was close with his father, but moved to Minnesota for college. He returned to the area briefly before going back to Minnesota and having a daughter with someone, they said.
“He randomly just came back a month ago,” Courtney Mack said. “He was going from house to house. He was with the mother. He was with the uncle on her side. But he always gravitated back to the grandmother because that’s who he lived with all the time.”
“I’m really at a loss for words,” the victim’s oldest son, Jessie Smith, said. “My mother was a beautiful, heart-warming person who cared about everybody. She just didn’t deserve this, and I don’t understand it.”
“It’s mind-boggling that someone that close (to you) and that you knew loved you (would do that),” Courtney Mack said.
You can watch the full news conference with Southfield police and the family below.