Marchers demand moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and other attacks on the people at march Aug. 28, 2012.
Marchers demand moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and other attacks on the people at march in downtown Detroit Aug. 28, 2012.

 “I thought they were going to shoot everyone”

 Franklins died; Long, Jr. facing life in prison

 Confrontations spreading since October, 2o14 Treasurer’s tax auction

 Organizers call for immediate moratorium on tax foreclosures

Conclusion of Alonzo Long, Jr. preliminary exam Tues. Jan. 6, 2015

By Diane Bukowski

 January 3, 2015 

Alonzo Long, Jr. told police in a statement that he did not fire first, and was defending family members as they moved from tax-foreclosed home.

Alonzo Long, Jr. told police in a statement that he did not fire first, and was defending family members as they moved from tax-foreclosed home.

DETROIT – Relatives, friends and community organizers supporting Alonzo Long, Jr., 22, including a half-dozen white high school students, along with relatives and friends of Howard Franklin, 72, and Catherine Franklin, 37, killed by Long Nov. 28, packed the court for the second part of his preliminary exam Jan. 2 in front of 36th District Judge Ruth Carter.

Long faces two counts of first-degree (premeditated) murder in the deaths, which he told police resulted from his defense of family members moving possessions from 15114 Piedmont in Rosedale Park. He said they were confronted by the Franklins, both armed. The elder Franklin bought the home at the Wayne County Treasurer’s October tax auction; it was deeded to him Nov 10.

“My nephew would never have had the intention to kill anybody, and my sympathy goes out to their family,” a woman who said she was Long’s aunt told VOD. No other family members from either side commented to the media.

Long’s attorney, Charles Longstreet II, told the Detroit Free Press that the case “is a question of self-defense.”

Charles Longstreet II of Longstreet Law Firm./ Facebook photo

Charles Longstreet II of Longstreet Law Firm, said case is one of self-defense./ Facebook photo

Similar incidents, none so far known to be fatal, have been reported across Detroit since the October tax auction. There appears to be confusion over new state laws which allow landlords to remove “squatters” themselves. The laws specify, however, that a court order must be obtained to evict foreclosed owners or their relatives and renters, who are NOT considered squatters, and provide stiff penalties for violations by new owners. They also are extremely harsh on actual “squatters,” putting penalties for “squatting” in the same category as those for “terrorism.”

The Piedmont home was owned by Willie and Margaret Fletcher, and occupied by their grandson, according to a county records and a board member of the Rosedale Park community association.

“The lady started shooting, and I thought they were going to shoot everyone,” Long said in a written statement read by Michigan State Detective Trooper Tracy Walton during the hearing. “My girl Tamika was shot.”

He said after the shootings, he took Tamika to the hospital and returned to his home, where he later voluntarily surrendered to police.

In the statement, Long denied shooting first, and denied stating, “Y’all got guns, I got one too.”

Home at 15114 Piedmont where shootings occurred Nov. 28, 2014.

He said he was sitting in a car outside, and entered the home after his uncle called for him from inside during an apparent argument. He said he did not see the younger Franklin with a gun at first on entering, but did see the elder Franklin with one, putting his hand across his chest to draw it. He said he drew his own gun from a holster and fired at him. All three individuals had concealed weapons permits.

Long’s lawyer Charles Longstreet II objected to admission of the statement because Walton was not present for the entire interrogation and because it was not inclusive of the entire two and one-half hour interview, which was videotaped.

“My client said he was not the first person to fire a shot, and he maintained that throughout the interview,” Longstreet said. “My client said Howard Franklin had a revolver, and [the police] did discover that.”

PA 233 box

This is part of one of three new so-called “sqatters” laws sponsored by conservative State Rep. Kurt Heise (R). Although they criminalize squatting, they also protect some rights of previous owners and their relatives, as well as renters, who are not considered squatters. 

He also said that sufficient time had not elapsed between the date of the new deed, Nov. 10, and the incident on Nov. 28, for a legal eviction to be carried out. Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Daniel Williams countered that the occupants were “voluntarily” evicting themselves.

Detroit police officer Scott Holbrook, who said he had been on the force for a year, testified that he and his partner were called to the home by an employee of Catherine Franklin. He said they found “a lady on the porch not breathing,” and a “man on a pile of clothes not breathing.”

He said Howard Franklin had a .38 Special Ruger revolver. He said it had not been fired, since he emptied the gun of five unspent rounds before putting it into evidence. He said the gun was in Franklin’s left side shirt pocket, with the handle protruding. On cross, he said the gun would have to have been taken out of the pocket with Franklin’s right hand, causing his arm to cross his chest.

He said he did not examine the woman on the porch. An employee of Catherine Franklin’s testified earlier that she had a gun in her hand when she fell out the front door, mortally wounded. No forensic evidence has been presented.

Judge Carter said she would review a two and one-half hour video of the Long interrogation in camera before resumption of the exam and disposition of the case Tues. Jan. 6 at 1 p.m.

After the exam, Mike Shane of the Moratorium NOW Coalition Against Foreclosures, Evictions, and Shut-offs said they and other groups are instituting a city-wide campaign for an immediate moratorium on all tax foreclosures, due in part to the increasingly volatile situation they represent. He said in particular occupied properties should not be sold, and called for the charges against Long to be dismissed.

Newly installed Wayne County Executive Warren Evans previously called such a moratorium on mortgage foreclosures during his tenure as Wayne County Sheriff.

Mike Shane at rally against Detroit banks in 2013.

“This [type of incident] can happen again,” Shane said. “Clearly county and city officials are running roughshod over the neighborhoods pushing these foreclosures through. There are at least 20 different kinds of irregularities that we’ve found in the foreclosures. Housing is a human right. We don’t need to be increasing Detroit’s homeless population. People are paying too much on property taxes anyway. The county and the city are not emphasizing proper eviction procedures to the people, and Police Chief James Craig is telling everyone to get armed to defend themselves. They’re sending mixed messages.”

He said the Coalition is approaching 20 community organizations this week to get support for a moratorium.

Along with the 15114 Piedmont home, community organizer Agnes Hitchcock said at least 16 others nearby on Piedmont have large past due tax bills, with one foreclosure, one owing for four years, three for three years, and two for two years. All are subject to foreclosure.

Confrontations between new owners and occupants are taking place with increasing regularity.

Ardmore home where winning bidder illegally removed everything in the house.

Ardmore home where winning bidder Tracey Moore illegally removed everything in the owner-occupied house without court order.

One woman told VOD that the home on Ardmore which her husband’s grandmother Faustine Hawkins has occupied since at least 1988 was evidently sold at the October auction. However, Ms. Hawkins had quit claimed the home, where her grandson Keith Dortch spent his entire life, to him in 2012, as shown in county records. Register of Deeds records for both Hawkins and Dortch show no foreclosure action taken against the property. Mrs. Dortch is temporarily in a nursing home recovering from a stroke, but the woman said she is expected to recover and return home.

However, Wayne County Probate Court Judge June E. Blackwell Hatcher granted an Adult Foster Care petition for conservatorship for Ms. Hawkins Nov. 10. AFC claimed in their petition that Ms. Hawkins has dementia, and “the adult has property that will be Wasted or dissipated unless proper management is provided.”

On Nov. 11, the treasurer deeded the house to Tracey Moore of Detroit from the October tax auction.

March 1 meeting on foreclosures, evictions and other community matters, attended by many Rosedale Park residents. At right are Abayomi Azikiwe and Dave Sole of the Moratorium Now! Coalition,

March 1 meeting on foreclosures, evictions and other community matters, attended by many Rosedale Park residents. At right are Abayomi Azikiwe and Dave Sole of the Moratorium Now! Coalition,

“She [Moore] got a dumpster and had everything thrown out of our home,” the woman said. “Granny is 88 had a lot of treasured properties in there. My husband got upset when he came by, and the police were called, but he wasn’t charged. We filed to take [Moore] to court, but she didn’t show up for the hearing. Now cars keep riding by our house but we’ve changed the locks and my husband has told them not to come back on the property anymore.”

The new so-called “squatter laws” actually provide for compensation to a legitimate occupant for damages three times the original value if they are illegally evicted.

Jamal Gilmer, Sereena Patterson/Photo Fox 2 News Detroit

Jamal Gilmer, Sereena Patterson/Photo Fox 2 News Detroit

In another case Dec. 9, covered by MyFoxDetroit’s Ronnie Dahl, Detroit police arrested Jamal Gilmer when he went to the house he had just purchased to get the previous owner, Sareena Patterson, to move out. Angry when police told him he could not order Patterson out without a court order, since she had a deed and was not a squatter, he told the police he didn’t need them and approached the house himself.

Patterson told Fox 2, “When you go from ‘We’re going to work out a deal, I don’t want the house’ to all of a sudden I need to get out, well then you’re going to have to go file the papers, so I can get out.”

West Outer Drive home bought by 25-year-old winning bidder.

West Outer Drive home bought by 25-year-old winning bidder.

Gilmer bemoaned his fate, saying “I had to spend a night in jail. It cost me another $100 to bail myself out and it’s like my hands are tied.”

Channel 7 covered  another case Dec. 17, in which the new owner, Brittney Harden, 25, who said she paid $50,000 for the West Outer Drive home, claimed the occupants were squatters.

Fox 2 headlined the story asserting that the occupants were indeed squatters. But the so-called “squatter,” a mother of small children, told Dahl that she had rented the house for seven years from the landlord, who lost it in the foreclosure sale. Dahl reported that Harden has now gone to 36th District Court to go through proper eviction procedures. According to Register of Deeds records, Harden herself lost her home to tax foreclosure earlier in the year.

For more information, contact the Moratorium NOW! Coalition at


New state “squatters” laws at 2014-PA-0223 eviction rights landlord and tenant Heise and 2014-PA-0224 Anti-squatter and 2014-PA-0225 penalties for squatting.


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  1. Deirdre says:

    I’m appalled that the incident happened at all, and TRULY, TRULY, DEEPLY saddened at not only the loss of life of the two family members, but also the “premeditated murder, charges” of the young man allegedly “defending” his home. THE WAYNE COUNTY TREASURER’S OFFICE & REGISTER OF DEEDS HAS NEGLIGENTLY SET UP THIS DYNAMIC in thousands of instances throughout Wayne County and should also be named as culpable. The Radio and TV advertisement of the Auction(s) is vague to non-existent, pertaining to legalities of winning the bids (Even though a Terms and Conditions packet might have been “accessible”). Deputy Treasurer, David Szymanski acknowledged, on the front pages of Detroit News and Miami Herald in June 2013, “The rules are not being followed”, PRIOR TO SUBSEQUENT, CURRENT & “QUESTIONABLE” AUCTIONS!! The auction contractors, through the Treasurer’s Office and/or Register of Deeds Office, should have at least made the new / potential owners aware of the MI “Castle Doctrine” (which equates to other states “Stand Your Ground Laws”) premised on “A man’s home is his castle” and shall be protected. With that information and knowledge, perhaps, just PERHAPS, these lives would not have been lost!! After all… both parties, unfortunately believed, they were the “RIGHTFUL OWNERS”!!

  2. Informed Reader says:

    I wonder why Diane Bukowski is trying to muddy the waters. What’s her interest in this case? I was in court last Friday and Long’s statement did not say anything about Howard drawing his gun in fact he stated that Howard had his gun in his hand. That lie could be seen for what it was when the dpd officer got on the stand and said Howard’s gun was in his pocket. And he said he never seen the female with a gun. So how do you defend yourself from someone who has not even pulled their gun? Now Diane Bukowski is trying to deceive you reporting lies as true statements. He took his friend to the hospital, yeah because he shot her too. The fact is Alonzo Long murdered the Franklins because his family could not live there for free anymore. They were stealing shutters and a chandelier, were they going to put that stuff in the new house the decided to squat in? Diane Bukowski called all yall down to court to support Long stating that he was defending his family and the truth is she should have called yall down their to support the Franklins where they lost 2 family members over a chandelier and some shutters. I wonder how long this will stay up.

    • I presume you are a relative of the Franklins. As explained clearly in this story, the house was occupied by the GRANDSON of the owners, the Fletchers. He was NOT squatting. Therefore according to state law specified in the sidebar, the new owners had to obtain a court order to evict him. However, his family members were helping him move anyway. Why did the Franklins bother interfering in this process, carrying guns to the property? Ms. Franklin put her own children in danger of losing their mother by such a rash action. As far as the chandeliers and blinds (as identified in earlier hearing), they likely were installed by the Fletchers, but it is not worth losing one’s life over such petty issues, or shooting anyone else. The police who were on the scene first SHOULD have told the Fletchers to leave the property and go to court, as did the police in the Dec. 9 incident where the new owner was arrested when he disregarded police orders to do so. There has been NO FORENSIC OR BALLISTICS testimony showing whether Ms. Franklins’s gun was fired, and WHO shot Tamika. Were you there? How do you know that Alonzo Long, Jr. shot Tamika? I believe you are speaking from emotion in the loss of your relatives/friends. It was indeed a tragic incident, and I understand the Franklins’ family and friends are mourning. But as Catherine Franklin’s employee testified at the first part of the exam, he told them “It doesn’t have to be like this,” then he and the other employee ran out of the premises to avoid being caught in the crossfire. As far as MY interest in this case, I am a newspaper reporter who knows NONE of the parties involved. I am simply interested in seeing justice done here. From the testimony I have heard so far, Alonzo Long Jr. did not PLAN to kill anyone; he had a CCW so had no police record. Yet he was charged with two counts of first-degree (premeditated) murder. As a community organizer commented in a previous story, he believes that Long’s youth as compared to the ages of the Franklins played a big role in these charges. Chief Craig is out there telling Detroiters, speaking especially to older Detroiters, to arm themselves, and implying that the city is being overrun by criminal youths. Why should the people of Detroit allow themselves to be divided like this, older against younger, when the entire city is under attack from Gov. Snyder and the other forces that have stripped it of its assets?

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