A 69-year-old registered sex offender is on the run after he attempted to rape a friend then fatally shot an unarmed security guard and a female resident at the low-income senior housing complex where he lives, Detroit police said Wednesday.
Police are preparing a warrant request naming James Fleming in the shootings Tuesday night at the Phillip Sims Senior Housing complex, police Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood told The Associated Press.
Fleming and a 30-year-old woman were using cocaine in the complex late Tuesday when he tried to sexually assault her, police Chief James Craig said. The woman, whose name was not released, escaped her attacker and pulled a fire alarm. Firefighters arrived but left after finding no fire.
Craig said Fleming apparently left the building and retrieved what police believe was a .38-caliber revolver from a vehicle parked outside. He walked back through the building’s front door and shot the 50-year-old security guard who was working his first day on the job and a 66-year-old female resident who “wasn’t even looking” at the gunman, Craig said.
“He may have fired as many as 10 shots,” Craig added. “He may even have reloaded. We don’t know what motivated him to attack. We believe his intention was to find the sexual assault victim. You try to make reason out of insanity. This is insanity, and then you factor drugs in.”
Craig did not say if the 30-year-old woman remained in the building after the fire alarm was pulled. She was not injured and is cooperating with investigators, Craig said.
Fleming fled in a dark blue 2001 Chrysler Town and Country minivan with Tennessee plates. Michigan’s Public Sex Offender Registry lists him being convicted in 1988 of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The Associated Press called the senior housing complex Wednesday for comment, but the person who answered the phone hung up.