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2 dead, 8 injured in barbershop shooting on Detroit's east side

Published: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 9:54 a.m. CDT

DETROIT (MCT) — Elaine Williams just wanted to make sure her son was still alive. But strings of police tape and emergency vehicles kept her from knowing if her 29-year-old son, who went for a haircut, was one of 10 men shot, two fatally, at a barbershop known for gambling.

"Can someone help me? Help me find my son!" she cried out to distant Detroit Police officers with no reply.

Williams and several of her relatives could only wait for word from a distance because four blocks were cordoned off while police collected several gun shells off the floor of Al's Barber Shop and the Wayne County Medical Examiner had yet to remove the bodies of the two deceased.

The incident occurred about 6:15 p.m. in the 5100 block of East Seven Mile. Police Chief James Craig said the barbershop, in a strip mall along a major road on the city's east side, is a known site for illegal gambling.

Craig said "suspects engaged a couple of victims" before "several shots were fired." He said it's not known if any of the victims fired back.

"It's a tragic situation," Craig said. "I'm optimistic we will find these violent predators and bring them into custody. I can't even imagine what would cause this type of violence."

Another woman said her three sons were also in the shop. She learned one escaped and was safe, but she hadn't heard the fate of the other two, she said.

"He just went there to get bus fare" from his brothers, she said of one of her sons.

Police say the motive of the shooting was unclear, but it possibly was connected with gambling that occurred at the shop or a debt owed to the shooters.

Witnesses said two men barged through the back door with assault rifles and fired off rounds, spraying a crowd of people, including barbers, patrons and others socializing in the shop.

"Someone owed someone petty money, but I don't know why they had to shoot everyone," said one witness, who said he was in the shop when the shooting started and made a dash for the door.

The condition of the eight injured victims wasn't known.

Police were searching for two males.

(c)2013 Detroit Free Press Distributed by MCT Information Services

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