911 calls said combatants brandished bats and guns

IMLAY CITY — Police continue to sift through sketchy details of a fight involving multiple people that broke out during an outdoor auction at the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds on Sunday, Oct. 4.

Police Chief Scott Pike reported that Lapeer County Central Dispatch fielded a call at around 1:30 p.m., notifying police of a large fight with as many as 40 male combatants, some of whom had guns and baseball bats.

In addition to Imlay City police, Michigan State Police, Lapeer County Sheriff’s deputies, Almont and Dryden police and Lapeer County EMS responded to the incident.

Pike said that by the time law enforcement arrived at the scene, numerous vehicles had already exited the fairgrounds, while others were seen leaving and driving off in either (north or south) direction.

“Police officers were able to stop a couple of the vehicles as they were leaving the fairgrounds,” Pike said. “In one of them police found someone who had been beaten pretty badly with a baseball bat.

“And at some point, “(Imlay City) Officer (Cory) Martin stopped someone in another car who had a handgun.”

From that point, Pike said details of the incident become unclear, adding that no arrests were made.

“None of the suspects were cooperative,” Pike said, “and the witnesses to the fight could not identify the specific people involved.”

He said a preliminary investigation suggests that most, if not all, of those involved were from the same family.

“We’re still trying to muddle through this,” said Pike. “It sounds like there may have been some bad blood that led to a dispute between the family members.”

He said police were able to identify eight people, all of whom were from Sterling Heights.

“Right now it’s all very confusing,” Pike said. “When it’s sorted out, there could be numerous felonies having been committed.”

Related assaults

In a related but separate incident, a number of the same individuals from the Imlay City fight were arrested later in the day in Bruce Township in Macomb County.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham reported that at around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 4), Macomb County Deputies, Michigan State Police and Romeo Police responded to a large fight in a parking lot on Van Dyke (M-53), south of 35 Mile Rd.

According to Wickersham’s report, several people were fighting with machetes and baseball bats in an incident that stemmed from the earlier fight in Imlay City, which began when the involved family members met to exchange property.

“Two males that were half of the exchange arrived at the lot in a Dodge Ram pick-up truck and were confronted by a second set of men in a F-150 pick-up,” Wickersham said, adding that one of the men used a machete and the other a baseball bat to physically assault one another.

He said a third vehicle (GMC Yukon) with four people arrived at the scene and drove into the F-150, nearly striking one of the combatants.

At that point, Wickersham said the two men in the F-150 began striking the windows in the Yukon, injuring a front seat passenger.

Law enforcement officers were finally able to break up the altercation, but not before several persons were injured and transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The driver of the F-150, a 35-year-old Sterling Heights man, was treated for injuries, released and held at the Macomb County Jail.

He and five other Macomb County men, ranging in age from 20-68 years old, are being charged with Felonious Assault with a Dangerous Weapon.

All of the men involved in the fight were arraigned in 42-1 Romeo District Court on Monday, Oct. 5, and are scheduled to return to court on Oct. 27.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.