St. Clair Shores Police in a standoff with a shooter following a fireworks dispute

Vickie Thomas WWJ

Timeline Details Tense 28-Hour Standoff With Gunman In St. Clair Shores

July 19, 2019 - 9:39 am
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ST. CLAIR SHORES (WWJ) - The St. Clair Shores Police Department has released a detailed timeline surrounding the July 4th shooting and 28-hour long standoff with a gunman that resulted in an apparent murder-suicide.

Police say 58-year-old Tom Ihlenfeldt shot and killed 60-year-old Carol Baur before killing himself inside a home where he was hiding out after a shooting that was allegedly sparked by a fireworks dispute. 

The incident began around 10 p.m. on July 4 after Ihlenfeldt allegedly became upset about people shooting off fireworks in the neighborhood, near St. Margaret Street between 13 Mile and Masonic. The standoff lasted around 28 hours, spanning three days. 

The following is a timeline of the incident provided by police (all times are approximate):

7/4/19

•10:05 p.m. -- Dispatch received a 911 call that a neighbor has threatened the caller with a gun. The gun was not seen by the caller.

•10:08 p.m. -- Scout cars are dispatched to 31916 St. Margaret for a neighbor trouble complaint.

•10:10 p.m. -- Caller was on the phone with dispatch and informs them the suspect has fired shots at her residence and shot her window out.

AUDIO: Dramatic 911 Call In St. Clair Shores Murder-Suicide Triggered By Fireworks Dispute

•10:11 p.m. -- Caller reports that two people (a 62-year-old St. Clair Shores woman and a 10-year-old girl from Detroit) have been shot as the first officers arrive on the scene.

•10:13 p.m. -- Officers locate the two victims at 31916 St. Margaret and identify 31925 St. Margaret as the location where the suspect fled. It was unconfirmed if the suspect was still inside. A group of officers work to establish a perimeter around the suspect’s residence while others are rendering aid to the victims and attempting to control an extremely upset crowd that was growing quickly.

•10:17 p.m. -- Officers report multiple shots being fired from the suspect’s residence. Several officers continue to assess the suspect’s residence while others immediately establish a plan for the gunshot victims to be evacuated from their residence which was located across the street, slightly south, and in direct line of fire from the suspect’s residence. Both gunshot victims were removed from the residence and taken into the backyard where they were lifted over the rear fence and turned over to St. Clair Shores EMS personnel. Mutual aid was requested from Eastpointe Police, Roseville Police and Fraser Police. Numerous officers go house to house notifying residences to shelter in place or to evacuate under police supervision.

•10:30 p.m. -- The St. Clair Shores Emergency Response Team was activated. During this time, on scene personnel continued to maintain a perimeter around the suspect’s residence, interview witnesses and gather as much information possible to positively identify the suspect. Once the suspect’s identity was established, attempts were made to locate his phone number, identify any other individuals who may be inside the residence and identify family members to gather intelligence on the suspect.

•10:55 p.m. -- A phone number was located for who was believed to be a family member of the suspect. Contact was made with the family member who advised that Ihlenfeldt has just called them to say goodbye. Ihlenfeldt's phone number was confirmed with this individual and information, including the phone number for Ihlenfeldt's acquaintance, identified as Baur, who was said to also reside at 31925 St. Margaret, was obtained.

•11:02 p.m. -- A call was placed to Baur’s cell phone. There is no answer.

•11:16 p.m. -- A call was placed to Ihlenfeldt's cell phone. The call went to voicemail.

•11:57 p.m. -- Ihlenfeldt answered his phone and stated he wasn’t coming out of his house. Numerous additional calls were placed to Ihlenfeldt's phone, however, the calls went to voicemail or he would answer and hang up without saying anything.

07/05/19

•12:10 a.m. -- Ihlenfeldt answered his phone and was asked to come outside. Ihlenfeldt refused and stated, "You have to come in and get me." The contacting officer asked if Baur was in the house and Ihlenfeldt confirmed that she was. The contacting officer asked to speak to her and Ihlenfeldt refused. Ihlenfeldt told the officer that Baur was fine and she was sleeping. The officer asked him to wake her up so he could confirm she was OK, however, Ihlenfeldt refused. Ihlenfeldt then asked the officer if he "killed any n*****s." The officer told him no and again asked him to come outside. Ihlenfeldt said "No" and hung up.

•12:24 a.m. -- A call was placed to Baur’s cell phone and it went to voicemail.

•12:27 a.m. -- A call was placed to Ihlenfeldt's cell phone and he answered. The officer asked Ihlenfeldt to come outside, however, he stated "Come in and get me mother f****r." Ihlenfeldt was informed that the officer had spoken with his daughter and that she was worried about him. Ihlenfeldt responded, "I’m sure she is" and hung up.

•12:32 a.m. -- Shots are fired from the residence.

•12:33 a.m. -- A call was placed to Ihlenfeldt's cell phone and it went to voicemail. Additional shots are fired from the residence.

•12:40 a.m. -- Additional calls were placed to Ihlenfeldt's cell phone throughout this incident in an attempt to negotiate a peaceful surrender, however, Ihlenfeldt never answered his phone and let the calls go to voicemail. The remaining phone calls made to Ihlenfeldt's phone are not listed on the timeline. The last phone contact made with Ihlenfeldt was at 12:27 a.m.

•12:47 a.m. -- St. Clair Shores Emergency Response Team members approach the residence inside an armored General Purpose Vehicle (GPV). Ihlenfeldt fires several shots that strike the GPV.

•12:51 a.m. -- The front door of the residence is breached by the GPV.

•1:32 a.m. to 4:03 a.m. -- Tear gas was deployed into several areas of the residence and numerous phone calls are made to Ihlenfeldt's cell phone that go to voicemail.

•4:38 a.m. -- Michigan State Police Bomb Squad deploy the first robot into the residence. The robot had technical difficulty along with difficulty moving through the debris on the porch and in the front room of the residence.

•5:55 a.m. -- The robots technical problem is resolved and it is successful in moving past the debris. The robot is successful in maneuvering through the living room. A shotgun is observed laying on the floor.

•6:29 a.m. -- The robot moves into the first floor hallway and a handgun is observed laying on the ground.

•6:32 a.m. -- The robot moves into the kitchen and at this time, Baur is observed deceased on the floor. A search is conducted of the first floor in every area accessible to the robot and Ihlenfeldt is not observed.

•8:31 a.m. -- MSP robot is able to descend down the stairs into the basement. The robot is not able to check all areas and Ihlenfeldt is not observed.

•9:51 a.m. -- MSP robot is deployed into the residence where it successfully checks the attic space. Ihlenfeldt is not observed.

•11:12 a.m. -- MSP robot is deployed into the residence to conduct a secondary and more thorough search of the basement. As the robot descends down the stairs and reaches the last step, Ihlenfeldt fired numerous shots through the wall that struck the robot and temporarily disabled the camera. The robot operator was able to recover the camera view and as the robot rounded the corner to continue its search, Ihlenfeldt fired numerous shots that struck the robot and completely disabled it. Enough information was obtained prior to the robot being disabled that confirmed Ihlenfeldt had established an offensive position in the basement.

•12:32 p.m. -- Tear gas was deployed into the residence.

•12:39 p.m. -- Tear gas was deployed into the residence.

•12:46 p.m. -- Ihlenfeldt was observed on a robot camera that had been deployed into the northeast basement window approaching the basement stairs armed with an assault rifle with a large capacity magazine and wearing a gas mask. Ihlenfeldt was observed firing multiple shots up the stairs and in the direction of the GPV that was occupied by several officers and parked directly in front of the house. Officers inside the GPV observed several of the rounds strike Ihlenfeldt's vehicle, which was parked in the driveway of the residence, and the house directly next door to the south. Ihlenfeldt was observed retreating back to the west side of the basement and out of the camera’s view.

•12:48 p.m. -- Additional rounds of tear gas were deployed into the residence.

•1:03 p.m. -- The first round of smoke canisters were deployed into the residence in an attempt to have Ihlenfeldt exit.

•1:08 p.m. to 4:24 p.m. -- Additional rounds of smoke and multiple rounds of flash bangs deployed into the residence.

•5:20 p.m. -- A fire hose was deployed down the basement stairs and the water was turned on. The basement was filled with water in an attempt to have Ihlenfeldt exit the residence.

•7:09 p.m. -- The water being flushed into the basement was turned off.

•7:24 p.m. -- Smoke canisters were deployed into the residence.

•8:45 p.m. -- Officers were able to confirm through a robot camera that the water in the basement had drained quickly and was now down to a depth of approximately two feet.

•9:11 p.m. -- Emergency Response Team members deploy a pole camera into several basement windows in an attempt to locate Ihlenfeldt , however, Ihlenfeldt was not observed.

•9:25 p.m. -- MSP robot was deployed into the residence to conduct another search of the basement, however, it was unsuccessful.

07/06/19

•2:00 a.m. -- Emergency Response Team members make entry to the residence and locate Ihlenfeldt deceased in the basement with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Ihlenfeldt was located behind a self-made barricade and he was wearing a gas mask. An assault rifle with a high capacity magazine and a handgun were found next to Ihlenfeldt's body. Ihlenfeldt also had another fully loaded high capacity magazine in his pocket. Ihlenfeldt's acquaintance, Baur, was found deceased on the kitchen floor with what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds.

A search warrant was executed on the residence which resulted in the following items being recovered:

• Smith & Wesson .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun
• Smith & Wesson .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun
• Smith & Wesson .44 caliber revolver
• Arsenal Arms SLR 7.62 x 39 assault rifle
• Mossberg Model 590 12 gauge shotgun
• Smith & Wesson .22 caliber rifle
• 1000 - 2000 rounds of various ammunition

Although the investigation is still ongoing, police determined that Ihlenfeldt legally purchased all of the handguns from a store in June 2015 but all three firearms were still registered to the store. Under Michigan law, Ihlenfeldt was required to notify the St. Clair Shores Police Department within 10 days of the purchase by submitting the Michigan State Police Pistol Sales Record form in order to have them registered in his name.

Under Michigan law, a permit is not required to purchase or carry a long gun (rifle or shotgun) and there is no gun license or registration required. Two of the long guns recovered from Ihlenfeldt's residence have been determined to be clear and one of the long guns is still being researched.

The investigation also included looking into Ihlenfeldt's past. In 2006, he was named as a suspect in an alleged sexual assault involving a minor that took place in St. Clair Shores. This matter was investigated by the St. Clair Shores Police Department and as a result, the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office authorized one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against Ihlenfeldt . In March 2007, his trial in 16 Circuit Court resulted in a hung jury. Prior to the start of the second trial in August 2017, Ihlenfeldt reached a plea agreement where he pled no contest to an amended count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was subsequently sentenced to four years of reporting probation and was required to register as a sex offender.

In August 2008, an order was signed to have Ihlenfeldt re-sentenced. On October 9, 2008, Ihlenfeldt was re-sentenced which resulted in the dismissal of the first-degree and second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges, both felonies, and added guilty pleas to indecent exposure and exhibition of obscene material, both misdemeanors. The judge also ruled that Ihlenfeldt was removed from the sex offender registration list. Based on this information, it has been determined that Ihlenfeldt was not a convicted felon and therefore, had the legal right to possess firearms.

"Please keep in mind that this investigation is still ongoing," police said in a statement. "We are fully prepared to release additional information if and when it is obtained."