Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 23, 2012

Michigan in Brief: 10/23/2012


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Shootings prompt school lockdowns

WIXOM — Five schools kept children off playgrounds and nervous commuters changed their routes Monday as authorities searched for a suspect in more than 20 random, unsolved shootings in southeastern Michigan.

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard urged the public to be vigilant, saying wide eyes probably were more critical than changing a daily routine.

"If you see something, say something. We'd rather check out 10 false things than miss one real," Bouchard told The Associated Press. "This is not going to slow us down. We're going to find this person."

No one has been hurt, and no shootings have occurred since Thursday. But a task force with officers from nine departments raised the number to 22 shootings after getting fresh reports in the region, more than 30 miles northwest of Detroit.

The shootings have happened in four counties. Most involve cars near Interstate 96, though authorities said one occurred while a man was taking out his trash. In another incident, a woman said the rear window on her car was shattered. Ten of the 22 shootings were in Wixom in Oakland County.

Tipsters told police the gunman appears to be a man in his 30s, and authorities have released a drawing of a possible suspect with close-cropped hair and stubble on his cheeks and chin. While the shootings appear to be random, police are investigating them as a pack.

3 Michigan residents file suit after injection

BOSTON — Three Michigan residents have filed suit after allegedly developing fungal meningitis following an injection of a tainted steroid produced by a Massachusetts company.

An attorney for the plaintiffs, two women and a man, said the lawsuits filed Monday are the first in Massachusetts against the New England Compounding Center. Chicago attorney Elizabeth Kaveny said the suits are just the "tip of the iceberg" for the company, which has ceased operations and recalled all its medicines.

A message requesting comment was left Monday with a company spokesman.

The outbreak has sickened nearly 300, including 23 who died. Each received a steroid shot, mostly for back pain.

Federal health officials matched the shots produced by the New England Compounding Center to the outbreak after finding the deadly fungus in more than 50 unopened vials there.