Father arraigned in student's shooting death; 4 others charged - WNEM TV 5

Father arraigned in student's shooting death; 4 others charged

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Source: ObitMichigan.com Source: ObitMichigan.com
David Dennis (Source: Saginaw County Sheriff's Office) David Dennis (Source: Saginaw County Sheriff's Office)

At least five people have been charged in the shooting death of a Freeland teen, including the teen's father.

Police said 16-year-old Michael Dennis died from a fatal gunshot wound following a bonfire at his home on N. River Road in Tittabawassee Township.

The 10th grader was found in the basement of the home at about 2 a.m. Sunday, May 14.

Tittabawassee Township Police Chief Dennis Green said on Monday, June 19 the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office charged five adults in connection with the high school student's death.

David Dennis, Michael's father, was charged with careless discharge of a weapon.

Prosecutors said he was negligent in allowing access to his gun, which was used in the shooting.

Connor Brunett, 18, was charged with multiple misdemeanors. One of those charges includes lying to a police officer about a video of Michael holding a gun to his head that night.

An additional teenager was charged with supplying alcohol to minors.

The police chief said there were also juveniles charged in the case, but the exact number is not confirmed at this time.

Detectives interviewed students who were at Dennis’ home at the time of his death to try and figure out if the shooting was intentional or an accident.

Details about the circumstances that led to the shooting have not been immediately released, but police said the gun was registered to the Dennis' residence.

Investigators said alcohol may have played a role in the teen’s death.

Jan Langley, Freeland resident, said she sees a mix of alcohol and guns as a problem.

"There's too much of it happening here in our town. For such a little town there's too much of the drinking and too much of the freedom of funs," Langley said.

She said kids don't realize the results of that kind of behavior.

"I really feel sorry for all the families. I mean, I know the kids didn't expect this to happen," Langley said.

Others said no matter what plays out in court, it won't bring back the vibrant young man.

"It's just sad. It's too bad it had to go down like this. I mean, a young man has lost his life over foolishness really," said Mark Purcell, Freeland resident.

One of the teenagers who was at the party spoke to TV5 anonymously. He said he wants the public to know Michael was not suicidal and was not playing Russian roulette with the weapon. He said it was just a night of fun gone wrong.

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