This article was written via the collaboration of Malaya Elgarico, Arica Frisbey and Olivia Grills.
Pittsfield Township police have arrested several suspects in connection to the April 2018 murder of former Eastern Michigan University student, Christopher “Jack” Marsh. One of the arrests occurred Tuesday morning at Walton Residence Hall, with the university reporting that only one suspect was arrested on campus.
Carly Angott, a senior at EMU, woke to the sound of police issues demands. She witnessed the arrest from her apartment window. The car with the suspects was parked across from her window with a wall of three police cars around it with officers aiming their guns at the suspect’s vehicle.
“It was really a surreal feeling because I was woken up by the shouting of the police officers - it was almost like a scene from a movie,” she said. “I never anticipated me seeing a live stakeout outside my apartment window. I was nervous that I was going to witness a shooting.”
Callouts from police included ‘Come out of the vehicle with your hands up,’; "Do you have a gun?"; Lift your shirt up and turn,"; and "Walk backwards towards us".
Angott, along with a second witness who prefers to remain anonymous, reported seeing two African-American men handcuffed during the arrest. Both individuals were in a vehicle when police asked them to exit. It is unclear if both individuals were suspects in the arrest, as police reports there only being one suspect they were searching for.
Both men followed the officers’ instructions calmly and complied with all requests. The officers themselves, according to Angott, were ‘very stern’ but acted in a very professional, efficient manner without signs of aggression toward the suspects.
The second witness also reported that officers acted ‘by the book’ and were not hostile toward the individuals.
Angott said she spoke to a woman at the side of the road after the arrest, asking what was happening.
“She claimed to be the mother of one of the suspects,” she said. “She said it was a "pull over" of their car. I don't know if that's what she truly believes or if she just didn't feel like disclosing personal information to a stranger.”
Walton resident Alex Welch unexpectedly encountered the search on the first floor of Walton trying to leave for his class.
“All I saw is when I went out of my room, there was about 15 SWAT guys in the hallway and I went walking towards them and asked if I can pass them because that is the only way to get out of my hallway,” said freshman Alex Welch. “They told me ‘no’ and that ‘I had to go back to my room’ and they were loud.”
Freshman Mia Arhangelos was leaving her dorm when the arrest was taking place, and was able to see many police vehicles scattered in the Walton parking lot.
“As I was walking away, I stopped one of my friends that was on their way back [to the dorm] and they said that they pulled someone out of the building and they were not in a shirt and he had a purple durag on his head,” said Arhangelos. “She said they had his hands behind his back and they put him in the car.”
Graduate Hall Director Hunter Magrum and other Walton resident advisors stated were told they cannot disclose any information about the search until further notice.
The fatal shooting of Christopher Marsh Jr. occurred earlier this year, on April 28. At 9:30 p.m. that night, Pittsfield Police were sent to the Glencoe Hills apartment complex where they found Marsh on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds. Marsh was transported to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, where he later died of his injuries.
Pittsfield Police Chief Matt Harshberger described the two suspects in Marsh’s shooting as black men between the ages of 19 and 25. The police went on to say that they believe the shooting occurred during a drug deal turned violent robbery.
Marsh had been enrolled at Eastern Michigan University as an electronic media and film studies major, though he was not enrolled for the Fall 2018 semester at the time of his death. He had formerly been involved with the now defunct wrestling team, leaving the team during the winter semester for uncited reasons.
With several more arrests happening in connection to the case, the Pittsfield Township Police Department plans to release a statement to the press tomorrow, October 3. As stated in the email that the university sent out shortly after the morning arrest, there is “no ongoing threat to the Eastern Michigan campus community.”