Boy, 8, fights for life after being shot in the head during rampage at water park in Detroit

Police investigate scene of shooting at Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad (Getty Images)
Police investigate scene of shooting at Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad (Getty Images)

A boy aged eight is fighting for his life after being shot in the head by a gunman who opened fire at a water park in Detroit.

The shooter, 42, began his rampage in Rochester Hills, a Michigan suburb where families gathered to escape the summer heat on Saturday evening.

Eight others were injured by the maniac letting off 28 rounds from a handgun at women and children near Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad.

He later died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his mother’s home, authorities said.

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard added during a news conference the eight-year-old remains in critical condition.

His mother is also fighting for life in hospital after being wounded in the abdomen and leg. A four-year-old brother is stable with a leg wound.

Authorities initially said they believed as many as 10 people had gunshot wounds from the shooting in Rochester Hills, but that number was revised after they checked with area hospitals.

The other six victims, all 30 or older, were in stable condition, Mr Bouchard said. They included a husband-and-wife couple and a 78-year-old man.

The shooting happened just after 5pm when the shooter drove up to the city park, walked to the splash pad and fired, stopping multiple times to reload.

At least one witness reported he used two handguns during the attack, but that has not yet been confirmed, the sheriff said.

Police at Rochester Hills (Getty Images)
Police at Rochester Hills (Getty Images)

“People were falling, getting hit, trying to run,” Mr Bouchard said.

“Terrible things that unfortunately all of us in our law enforcement business have seen way too much.”

Apparently in no rush, the gunman “just calmly walked back to his car”, the sheriff said.

An officer was at the scene within two minutes, he added.

Mr Bouchard said the first deputies who arrived immediately began providing first aid including tourniquets.

Officers also were able to quickly come up with a likely address for the suspect and a car matching his vehicle.

Deputies surrounded a home and tried to make contact with him. But when they sent a drone inside, the suspect was dead.

Another weapon was found inside.

The quick containment of the suspect may have prevented a “second chapter” to the shooting, Mr Bouchard said, displaying a photo of a semiautomatic rifle on a table inside the home.

The suspect did not live in Rochester Hills and investigators do not yet know why he went to the splash pad.

Officials did not release his name but described him as a 42-year-old white man who lived with his mother, who has been notified.

Local politician John James watches Oakland County Sheriff technicians (AFP via Getty Images)
Local politician John James watches Oakland County Sheriff technicians (AFP via Getty Images)

“In terms of the ‘why,’ I don’t know,” Mr Bouchard said of the gunman’s motive.

At the splash pad, authorities found a handgun, three empty magazines and 28 spent shell casings.

At the home, they recovered a semiautomatic rifle and another handgun believed to have been used by the suspect to take his life.

Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said: “When I got on scene I started to cry because I know what a splash pad is supposed to be.”

The area is about 15 miles south of Oxford, where in 2021 a 15-year-old fatally shot four high school students.

Counselling would be made available at a local public service office on Sunday to anyone in need.

Saturday’s shooting came at the end of the first full week of summer vacation for students attending Rochester Community schools.

Mr Bouchard called it “a gut punch” for the county.

“We’ve gone through so many tragedies,” the sheriff said. “You know, we’re not even fully comprehending what happened at Oxford. And, you know, now we have another complete tragedy that we’re dealing with.”

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said on X, formerly Twitter, that she was heartbroken to learn of the shooting and was in touch with local officials.