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Bullet Grazes Young Burglary Suspect

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Bullet Grazes Young Burglary Suspect

Ann Arbor News Photos By William B. Treml
    * Officer Charles Ghent (Left) Tells Story To Lt. Donald Carnahan
    * Detective Raymond Winters Checks Bullet Hole

By William B. Treml
News Police Reporter

A teen-ager, who police say was caught looting a south side apartment with four companions last night, was grazed by a bullet fired by an off-duty city patrolman.

Officer Charles J. Ghent, 25, who has been a policeman for less than a year, was cited by Police Chief Walter E. Krasny for "extraordinary, courageous action" in the single-handed capture of three of the five youths.

An Hour after the apprehension another officer, Patrolman Byrl Racine, 31, was undergoing surgery at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital for a collapsed lung resulting from a scuffle with the juvenile who had been wounded.

Chief Krasny gave this account of the incident:

About 8:30 p.m. yesterday Patrolman Ghent and his wife, Carol, heard footsteps in the apartment above them at 1135 W. Stadium Blvd. The Ghents knew that the occupants of the apartment, Mr. and Mrs. Randolph Felton, were out of the city and had not given permission for the dwelling to be used.

Ghent went up to the Feltons' unit, saw pry marks on the door and returned to his apartment to get his revolver.

He told his wife to call police headquarters and request a scout car and he returned to the Felton's door with the .38 caliber gun. He heard movements in the apartment and when he was unable to open the door because of a chain lock which had been fastened from the inside he forced the door open.

Inside, a 16-year-old Ypsilanti youth was ransacking a cabinet. When the youth saw Ghent he bolted across the living room to an east side bedroom, ran inside and slammed the door shut.

Patrolman Ghent ran after him and when the door slammed fired one shot from his revolver. The slug went through the door, grazed the top of the head of the 16-year-old and lodged in the south side wall. The wounded youth fell on top of a 15-year-old companion who had been lying on the floor of a closet in the bedroom. A third youth, who is 16, was lying on the floor east of the bed.

Officer Ghent burst through the doorway, leveled his gun at the three youths and shouted for his wife to call for additional scout cars and an ambulance. 

When patrolmen arrived moments later Ghent was holding the three teen-agers at gun point.

Uniformed Capt. Howard A. Zeck and Detective Sgt. Raymond Winters, who investigated the incident at the scene, said two other youths apparently ran out of the Felton apartment through a kitchen area as Ghent was chasing the 16-year-old into the bedroom. They are being sought.

Patrolman Racine was injured later at St. Joseph Hospital where he and other officers had taken the wounded teen-ager for treatment. The youth became belligerent in the emergency room of the hospital Chief Krasny said, and in a struggle which followed, Officer Racine's lung was injured. However, he returned to police headquarters with the bandaged youth but collapsed while talking with other officers.

He was taken back to the hospital where surgeons inserted a tube into his lung. Racine was reported in good condition this noon and is expected to remain in the hospital for a week.

Chief Krasny said the three captured youths and their two companions, all from Ypsilanti, are believed to have been involved in six other house break-ins committed before the apprehension on W. Stadium Blvd. 

Three of those burglaries occurred in apartments in the 1500 block of Pine Valley Dr. where a total of $130 in cash and $135 in jewelry was taken. Two other forced entries were reported in homes in the 2300 block of Packard and the sixth was in an apartment house in the 1200 block of W. Stadium Blvd., a block from the scene of the arrests.

In all six cases doors had been forced and the apartments ransacked, Chief Krasny said.

The chief said one of the arrested teen-agers was involved in the robbery-murder of a service station attendant in Ypsilanti three years ago. He was 13 years old at the time.

One of the three juveniles was released to his parents early this morning and the other two were placed in the county Juvenile Home on Platt Rd.