Teacher found killed at Franklin home in apparent murder-suicide

Suspect in Franklin murder later found dead at Royal Oak home

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®


Harry Berkowitz was shot to death early Tuesday morning in his Franklin Village home.

Police believe a man who lived with him, 33-year-old Thomas Ian Matthews, killed Berkowitz. The motive is not yet known and may never be determined.

Read: Franklin murder suspect found dead in Royal Oak home

Franklin Village Police Chief Dan Roberts says Berkowitz's own human kindness was turned against him.

"I do know they've known each other for a long time and I believe Mr. Berkowitz was trying to mentor him for a number of years," said Roberts.

The Oakland County Crime Lab was called to the scene and took evidence from the home. Long before that, police in Franklin had notified Royal Oak police to look for Matthews at an acquaintance's home. Police found Matthews at a home on Sprague Avenue.

Officers and SWAT team members surrounded the Royal Oak home for hours until a robot went inside and showed it was safe to enter. Police went inside and found Matthews dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Berkowitz had been teaching in the Birmingham Public Schools for decades. Chief Roberts says Franklin and the city of Birmingham are deeply shaken by the violence.

"It's tragic when anyone dies but especially a school teacher, and anyone who knew (Berkowitz) loved him and thought very highly of him," said Roberts. "He was still teaching in his 70s, which I think is emblematic of his character."

Longtime Franklin resident Nancy Katzman's brother had Berkowitz as a teacher when he was a young boy. Katzman knew him well, too.

"Mr. B's passion was teaching. We knew him as Mr. B," said Katzman. "He was into gardening and he gave flowers to everyone. He will be missed."

-- Harry Berkowitz

Copyright 2013 by ClickOnDetroit.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.