Council President Pugh fibbed about a gunman heading to council chambers

Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh caused unnecessary alarm Tuesday by suggesting that a California couple was headed to council chambers with a gun.

Media outlets bought the story, spreading more fear among city employees without confirming Pugh’s comments.

Turns out, Pugh was wrong. He didn’t know where the couple was headed or why one of them was stopped at a metal detector with a gun. Pugh later acknowledged he didn’t know where the couple was going.

Police told the Motor City Muckraker this morning that it’s not that unusual for people to be nabbed with a gun at city hall’s metal detector. Most of the time, residents say they forgot about their concealed weapon or didn’t know they couldn’t bring a gun into a government building.

While their ignorance is inexcusable, so too was Pugh’s announcement during a public meeting that a gunman was trying to reach council chambers, two residents and a city employee at the meeting told us.

“I was scared to death,” said one council aide, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal. “It’s terribly¬†irresponsible. I’m still shaking.’

Pugh’s statements prompted discussion about whether council members need to pay for more protection, despite the presence of police and a metal detector.

Some council members have been on edge since supporting a consent agreement to avoid an emergency manager. Residents have shown up at meetings in droves to loudly protest the move.
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To date, there is no evidence of a credible threat against a council member.

The unidentified woman caught with the gun is to be charged later today with unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon.

Steve Neavling is an investigative journalist and former Detroit Free Press reporter.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

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