DETROIT (Reuters) - A man being questioned in a mass shooting that left three people dead at a Detroit barber shop was charged Friday with assaulting a federal officer who had been watching him for the investigation, authorities said.
Larry O‘Neil Walker II has not been charged in connection with the shooting on Wednesday night, but has been held as a person of interest and investigators are still talking with him, Detroit police said on Friday.
“He has not been ruled out as the shooter in any way,” a Detroit police spokesperson said in a statement.
On Wednesday, a man fired a high-powered rifle from an alley into a small room at the back of the shop used as an illegal gambling den, police said. Up to 30 people were in the room; three died and six others were wounded, police said.
Detroit police said after the shooting that they had sought for questioning a man who was feuding with several members of the gambling party and he had been taken into custody in a Detroit suburb.
Walker, who was wearing body armor when he was taken into custody, was under surveillance by the Detroit violent crime task force when he tried to ram an unmarked vehicle driven by a federal officer, the FBI said in an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint in Detroit federal court.
After he tried to ram the unmarked vehicle with a minivan, Walker tried to block the officer’s vehicle from exiting a parking lot and then chased the officer at speeds up to 80 mph, the affidavit said.
The agent called for assistance and eventually stopped and confronted Walker, gained control of him and removed him from the van, the affidavit said.
The federal charges were released as Detroit police began investigating another triple killing on Friday, the latest in a rash of killings in Detroit that has claimed several victims in recent weeks.
In 2012, Detroit’s homicide rate reached a 20-year high at 54.6 homicides per 100,000 people, according to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Homicides were down about 13 percent in 2013 from this time last year before Friday’s shootings.
Additional reporting and writing by Kevin Murphy and Karen Brooks; Editing by Scott Malone, John Wallace, David Bailey and Leslie Gevirtz