I've lived withing about 10-20 miles of Selfridge ANGB all my life. I've never been to an air show on the base, but often seek out a good observation point within close proximity of the base, where I can observe a lot of activity, and easily monitor them on my scanners.
Many years ago, I was given access to the base for a quick informal tour by a fellow scanner enthusiast, who also was a firefighter on the base. It was something I'll never forget! They've really tightened things up since 9/11!
I'll also never forget the night this happened! I heard it all on my scanner. The base communications were VHF/UHF analog, and in-the-clear. It was the most intense thing I've ever heard on a scanner!
Driver who sped past base guards shot dead
A mentally challenged Fraser man who breached security at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base and was shot and killed by security personnel may have purposely set himself up to get killed, his sister, Tracey Sekula, said.
Timothy James Whisman burst through the main gate at Selfridge with a smile on his face and waved to security personnel, said Michigan State Police Sgt. Craig Nyeholt.
He led 127th Wing Security Forces on a 20-minute chase. Originally described by a base spokeswoman as being "incapacitated" by base personnel, Whisman was shot in the back and killed by a security response team using 9-mm handguns and M-16 semi-automatic rifles.
Whisman, 37, was taken to Mount Clemens General Hospital by MedStar Ambulance late Wednesday where he was later pronounced dead.
Whisman crashed his vehicle into a privately owned parked vehicle and attempted to run down security personnel before the security response team fired shots at the suspect's Geo Tracker.
"I think last night (Wednesday) Tim was depressed and took the easy way out to kill himself," said Sekula. "I think he felt that he didn't fit in with society.
"I invited him to my house to watch the (Detroit) Pistons game, but he said he was going to watch the game with some friends."
After the shooting, Nyeholt said Whisman's car was immediately searched for explosives by a specially trained German shepherd and his handler, Macomb County Sherirff's Deputy Kevin Weldon. He said base personnel didn't know at the time whether Whisman was a terrorist.
Dr. Daniel Spitz, Macomb County medical examiner, said Whisman was shot twice in the back. Spitz said he died from one of the bullets.
Whisman is no stranger to police in Macomb County. He faced a felony firearm charge in 1995, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Lt. Penny Carroll, spokeswoman for the 127th Wing, said operations at Selfridge had "returned to a normal pace" Thursday following the security breach.
"We're waiting to find out what comes out of the investigation by Michigan State Police," Carroll said.
Brig. Gen. Michael Peplinski, 127th Wing commander, said because of concurrent jurisdiction both the Michigan State Police and the FBI will be investigating.
"We are cooperating fully with state and federal agencies to ensure a thorough and efficient investigation is conducted," Peplinski said in a release Thursday.
Maj. Rey Regualos, 127th Security Forces Squadron, said security forces at Selfridge are "highly trained to protect the people and assets of Selfridge."
"They followed their rules of engagement and use of force," Regualos said.
State police Sgt. Nyeholt said Whisman had a history of mental illness that they attribute as the leading cause of this incident. Whisman was involved in a serious motorcycle accident when he was 14 years old in which he suffered a severe head injury.
Sekula said the accident occurred at a family cottage near Clare.
"We all had motorcycles and went canoeing and horseback riding while up north," Sekula said. "From what I can remember he hit a tree or someone else head on, and I think his head injury stayed with him in the form of a mental illness.
"He was diagnosed with schizophrenia."
On August 19, 1994, Whisman, 25 at the time, was arrested by Sterling Heights police and charged in 41A District Court with possession of a deadly weapon and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony after a standoff with Sterling Heights police a week earlier. Police went to Whisman's unit at the Parkside Apartments and confronted him about a complaint that he was stalking women who lived in the apartment complex.
Police knocked on his door and got no response. A detective went outside and looked through a window and saw Whisman pointing a loaded shotgun at his door in the direction of another officer.
The county's SWAT team forced its way in and arrested Whisman without incident some time later. They seized a loaded shotgun, three long guns, two semi-automatic handguns, a dozen knives and a large quantity of ammunition.
On Nov. 13, 1995, Macomb County Circuit Judge Michael D. Schwartz sent Whisman to the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ypsilanti for observation. Psychologist Ronald Lewis determined that Whisman was mentally ill and legally insane at the time of the alleged assault.
Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor Steven Kaplan was in charge of the prosecution then.
His behavior was described as "schizophrenic" and "psychotic." He was released to his parents in 1999 and his mother, Diane, was his guardian.
"He may have had problems but he was very caring," said Sekula. "He doesn't drink or take drugs and was an avid sports fan.
"He was going to Macomb Community College and was taking classes online on the computer at Indiana University."
Tracey said Timothy loved tennis and ran marathons. She said he played basketball at the Joe Dumars Fieldhouse in Shelby Township.
Recently, Timothy did landscaping and valet work and just about anything else anyone wanted him to do.
Whisman's mother, Diane Whisman, sued Sterling Heights police and a son, Tommy Whisman, over the gun incident. She said her son, Tommy, provided the guns and that police were negligent for granting Timothy two gun permits.
Carroll, meanwhile, said eight active duty Air National Guardsmen involved in the confrontation returned to duty Thursday.
The 127th Wing along with Department of the Army police protect approximately 2,000 residents and full-time work force daily at the joint-military base with multiple aircraft assets including Air National Guard C-130s and F-16s, Air Force Reserves KC-135s, Coast Guard HH-65s, and Army National Guard CH-47s.
All branches of the military, the Coast Guard and the Border Patrol are stationed at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
Wednesday's incident at Selfridge also prompted a tightening of security at the U.S. Army's Detroit Arsenal complex in Warren, the Army said Thursday.
"Based on several factors, the Detroit Arsenal is currently in a higher level force protection condition than Selfridge," said Don Jarosz, a public affairs officer at the Arsenal.
Jarosz said Arsenal has been on the higher level of security alert since approximately October 2004, "based on our specific mission, the command we report to" and other considerations.
Jarosz said that there have been no intrusion incidents at the Detroit Arsenal in recent months, but that tight "access control measures" are in place.
"The force protection staffs at both the Detroit Arsenal and Selfridge are in constant communication with each other relative to their current security postures, but each coordinate their designated force protection levels through their individual military higher headquarters," Jarosz said.
The Detroit Arsenal is home to TACOM and other Army facilities and has about 4,000 employees, of whom only about 100 are uniformed military personnel.
Macomb Daily Business Editor Dan Heaton contributed to this story.
Driver who sped past base guards shot dead