Man fatally shot by Royal Oak police officer; why officer fired at driver remains unclear

Shooting under investigation by Sheriff

By Nick Monacelli - Reporter

ROYAL OAK, Mich. - It all started about 6 p.m. Tuesday when Royal Oak police tried to stop a BMW on Woodward Avenue near 13 Mile Road. 

Police said the driver did stop at first, but then took off. Police caught up with him at a White Castle drive-thru in the area of 13 Mile Road and Coolidge Highway.

UPDATE: Man fatally shot by Royal Oak police officer identified; authorities remain quiet on details

"He was stopped and then he fled from the officer and he went actually through that White Castle parking lot, too," said Royal Oak Police Chief Corey O'Donohue. "Then the officer lost him in traffic after that."

A man was fatally shot by Royal Oak police outside a White Castle on April 10, 2018. (WDIV)

The chief said the driver then returned to the fast-food restaurant 15 minutes later. 

"Fifteen minutes later, (he) got in line and was picking up food at the drive-thru," said O'Donohue. 

The officer exited his vehicle with his gun drawn. 

"The officer approached the driver at that point, and our officer shot at the driver, striking him," said the chief. 

It's still unclear why the officer fired at the driver. The driver sped off after the shooting and crashed head-on into a minivan 1/4 of a mile away on 13 Mile Road. 

A driver who was shot by Royal Oak police crashed into a minivan on 13 Mile Road on April 10, 2018. (WDIV)

There were witnesses who said they saw the whole incident. 

"We saw the cop pull up to White Castle, and we saw him get out and draw his gun immediately. We heard four or five gunshots," said one witness. "We could see him swerving and driving really slow, and he looked out of it. And then he just started coasting into oncoming traffic, and I assumed that he passed out."

The Oakland County Sheriff's Department is investigating this deadly shooting. The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave. 

"With any loss of life, it's a terrible end to any situation. Whether this was justified or not, it's a terrible ending and that's regrettable," said Chief O'Donohue. 

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