IMAGE: Lydell Dukes

A rural community rocked by a deadly a shooting and police chase that has law enforcement scratching their heads.

“This doesn’t happen out here,” said Lapeer County Sheriff Scott McKenna

They are trying to understand why one person is dead, one wounded and another person is in custody.

Dryden Township Police were called to a home in the 3300 block of Hollow Corners Road, in Lapeer County, at around 2:49 a.m. on Sept. 8.

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McKenna said what happened in Dryden Township is highly unusual.

“On the same side it kind of opens our eyes and minds to see that in this age this kind of thing can happen everywhere,” McKenna said.

Neighbors told law enforcement they heard multiple gunshots in the neighborhood on Sunday.

Homeowners said they heard what they believed were 15-20 gunshots in the area, and later saw a man in their backyard. The man, later identified as Nicholas Palazzolo from Cadillac, said he had been shot in the lower back and needed help.

Multiple crews were called the scene, and while responding, Lapeer County Sgt. Jason Davis noticed several items on the road, including broken glass, near the home.

When deputies arrived, they said they saw an injured man identified as Palazzo and a hundred feet away in the ditch, a worse discovery.

Police said they found a body along Hollow Corners just after 3 a.m. on September 8. He was identified as Jason Stefanski, 35 from Rockford.

Investigators also came upon a vehicle about three miles away that had a shattered driver’s side window, a flat tire, and had been driving on the rim. When a deputy approached, he noticed the driver, identified as 37-year-old Lydell Dukes, from Ferndale, had a weapon on his lap.

After resisting arrest, McKenna says Dukes led deputies on a chase.

A low-speed chase began after Dukes refused to drop the weapon, and only ended after spike strips were deployed, popping all the tires north of the City of Lapeer.

He was eventually apprehended.

"From everything that we see at this point, they were all in the vehicle together,” McKenna said. “Like the prosecutor said I wouldn’t speculate into what happened that led to this. Obviously, that’s where we’re trying to go with this right now. But their interviews and contacts we have establish these people were acquaintances."

Police believe the incident could have been over drugs, adding that none of the people involved lived in the area.

Dukes was taken into custody and is facing 10 charges, including open murder, and assault with intent to murder in connection to Stefanski’s death, and Palazzolo being shot.

"Based on some of the things recovered from the vehicle and on the subjects, we you believe this is drug-related," McKenna said.

At last check, Palazzolo was in stable condition.

"There’s a lot of pieces to the puzzle that we are trying to put together and that’s why it’s so good that we’re working together," McKenna said.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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