After the Splash Park shooting, the Michigan community is feeling a familiar pang

A day after a shooting in suburban Detroit’s Splash Park left nine people, including children, injured, residents on Sunday struggled to process what happened with confusion, fear and shock.

β€œIt was hard to sleep last night. It’s hard to function this morning,” said Alex Roser, a 33-year-old pharmacy technician who grew up in the area.

On Saturday afternoon, a gunman opened fire at a splash pad β€” a children’s play area with blue cylinders that spray water β€” in Rochester Hills. Police identified the shooter as Michael William Nash, 42, and said the handgun recovered at the scene was legally purchased and registered to him in 2015.

Officials said the attack appeared to be random, but the motive was still unknown. Mr. Nash was found dead of a gunshot wound at his home nearby on Saturday, they said.

The injured included an 8-year-old boy, a 4-year-old boy and their 39-year-old mother, officials said. Others in the park that day were a city employee and 14 of his friends and family members. A city employee’s wife was shot, Rochester Hills Mayor Brian Barnett said Sunday. He said the condition of two of the victims was critical while the others were stable.

It was not lost on residents that this was the second shooting in recent years as the community grew nervous: In 2021, at Oxford High School in the same county, a student shot and killed four of his classmates and wounded seven others. And many were horrified that this time, in a city that promoted itself, it happened so close to home. Its website One of the safest in America.

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At a news conference Sunday, Oakland County Executive David Coulter lamented that officers are already familiar with responding to such shootings. “We’re so good at this, I hate it.”

On Sunday, mental health professionals with the Oakland Community Health Network provided counseling services to members of the community affected by the shooting in the cafeteria of a city building.

Trisha Zisumbo, chief operating officer of the health network, recalls offering similar services after the Oxford High shooting.

“Unfortunately, we learned a lot from the situation in Oxford,” Ms Zisumpo said. “I feel like we’ve done a great job this time of setting things up quick and fast and, unfortunately, knowing what to do in a tragedy like this.”

Rochester Hills is an affluent suburb of 76,000 28 miles north of Detroit. It’s a city of strip malls without a clearly defined downtown area, but its neighboring city of Rochester is well-known statewide for its holiday light display.

Mayor Barnett said the city will review all procedures it took when responding to the shooting, but he said at this point, nothing is a failure.

Since 2006, Mr. Barnett pointed out that the shooting happened in “one of the most vulnerable places.”

“You know who’s going to be at the splash pad on a sunny afternoon. It’s kids, and mostly it’s kids under 10,” he said.

Mr. Nash lived in DeWindre Estates, a small, quiet neighborhood of trailer homes less than two miles from the scene. He was believed to have lived with his mother, the Oakland County Sheriff said, and apparently had mental health challenges, but had no prior contact with police.

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Kyleen Duchene McDougal, 61, Mr. Nash lives next door, and despite knowing him for a long time, said they never had deep conversations. Mr. Nash’s mother recently left on a cross-country trip, Ms. Duchene McDougal said, and before the trip, she expressed concern. She has been single for a long time due to her son’s mental health issues.

They described it as a safe place where children ride bikes and families picnic and fish in the community pool, Mr. Other neighbors recalled their shock and fear when police came looking for Nash on Saturday.

Mr. Living three doors down from Nash’s house, Mr. Roser said he grew up in Rochester Hills and “didn’t move here because I felt safe.” So the thought of a shooting so close to her home “sickened,” she said.

That morning Mr. She added that she saw Nash mowing his lawn, “and he didn’t look upset. He looked like he was mowing his lawn.

Kyle LaFerrle, 40, a contractor, said he went for a walk in the neighborhood Sunday and saw what appeared to be a bullet fragment on the ground. Mr. Mr. who lives around the corner from Nash’s residence. LaFerrle said no place is immune from shootings.

“It just goes to show you that it’s happening everywhere,” he said.

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