Gunman shoots at Detroit fire engine from roof of abandoned church

Engine 50 L23
Quarters for Engine 50, Ladder 23, Chief 9 & Medic 15 on Detroit’s east side.

By Dave Mesrey
Motor City Muckraker

Detroit firefighters made an unsettling discovery Monday afternoon – a bullet hole in the windshield of their fire engine.

Firefighters were inside their station at Houston-Whittier near Gratiot on Monday afternoon when a bullet tore through a steel garage door and struck the windshield of Engine 50. Based on the trajectory of the bullet, firefighters believe the gunman was perched atop an abandoned church across the street.

Eight firefighters were on duty at the time.

“We’re lucky it didn’t hit anybody,” said one firefighter who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“It’s scary,” he said, “but it’s even scarier knowing you have no police protection.”

Firefighters didn’t call 911, saying police likely wouldn’t have responded because they are so understaffed.

Mayor Mike Duggan’s office said today that police are investigating.

The shooting appeared to be random, Fire Commissioner Jonathan Jackson said.

Engine 50 was featured in the critically acclaimed documentary “Burn.”

This isn’t first time Detroit firefighters have been targeted.

Last summer, thieves gutted several fire stations. In December 2012, someone tossed a molotov cocktail at Engine 58’s quarters on the east side.  And in September 2012, thieves stole a ladder and other equipment from a rig while it was at the scene of a fire.

Dave Mesrey

Dave Mesrey is a veteran copy editor who’s worked for the Metro Times, Hour Detroit, and ESPN’s Grantland.com. The editor of Willie Horton’s autobiography, “The People’s Champion,” Mesrey was also an associate producer of the 2013 Tiger Stadium documentary “Stealing Home.”

  • bigmama1127

    No hope for DET

  • Anthony Rubens

    I laugh when the black ministers from the city that used to be detroit get all high and mighty about an issue. They have failed at EVERYTHING they attempt. Crooks and liars all. Powerless as well. Bless the unions that are happening! If everyone is made in the image of god, so are gay men and women! Might as well shoot from the churches, they are good for little else.

  • Sizz

    Betcha they all had a few drinks to calm their nerves.

  • Sizz

    Betcha they all had a few drinks to calm their nerves.

  • Squirtle

    “Quarters for Engine 50, Ladder 23 & Chief 9 on Detroit’s east side.”

    Absolutely no mention of Medic 15. It does probably 90% of the runs for that station. Low tier journalism.

    • muckraker_steve

      Thanks for pointing that out. We are changing it immediately.

  • Billy Blake

    I had a stray bullet that went through a couple of my windows upstairs. I believe it happened at midnight New Years day. But I’m not entirely positive on that. There was a lot of gun fire going off that night. It sounded like I was in a war zone I’m not kidding. I have a friend who found the slug from the bullet. I think it’s from a 45 cal. Anyway I never called the cops whats the use. I’m just grateful no one was hurt or killed.