In January of early 1999, an Ann Arbor man walked into the Standard Federal Bank on Jackson Ave. and robbed it. The suspect fled and was not apprehended. The next day, in an apparent fit of guilt, the suspect drove to the police department and confessed to the crime. The suspect was eventually released on bail and later pled guilty to the crime.
On March 11, 1999, the suspect was to be sentenced for the bank robbery in a plea agreement with the prosecutor's office, as they had agreed to charge him with unarmed robbery.
Instead of reporting to the circuit court for his sentencing, the suspect went to the same Standard Federal Bank Branch and robbed it again. The suspect handed the teller a note which stated, “Get the money or I'll shoot you.”
The teller gave the suspect all of the money she had in her cash drawer and the suspect then fled the bank. Bank officials immediately called police and a description was given to the patrol officers. The teller was able to supply a detailed description of the suspect as she was the same teller that was robbed by the suspect in the January robbery!
Officer Bruce Rosander responded to the area and apprehended the suspect who had fled to a nearby mall. All of the money was recovered and the suspect was ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination to see if he was fit to stand trial for the crimes.
Murder on E. University
In a college town, parties and drinking are a frequent occurrence. Many fights erupt at these parties but seldom do they lead to murder. Unfortunately this was the case on June 5, 1999, when Nicholas Seitz was shot to death by Abdul Elkhoja.
Neither Seitz or Elkhoja were enrolled at the University of Michigan, but many people come to Ann Arbor to meet friends that go to the university and this was the case with Seitz. The party itself was in the 900 block of E. University and was not particularly unruly as college parties go. A friend of Seitz's became involved in an argument with some of the partygoers, who had made a catcall to a female walking down the street. He went to the apartment where Seitz and a number of other men were and went back to the party, evidently to confront the group. The two groups then became involved in name calling and pushing and shoving, certainly nothing which would lead anyone to think gunplay would follow.
For reasons known only to Elkhoja, he pulled out a handgun and fired a “warning shot” into the air. Seitz approached Elkhoja and evidently attempted to calm him down. According to witnesses, Elkhoja turned on Seitz and shot him once in the chest. Seitz fell to the ground and died on the sidewalk.
Seitz had not been involved in the fight and it appeared he was simply trying to act as a peacemaker when he was shot by Elkhoja. Elkhoja fled the scene before the arrival of patrol officers and was arrested later that day by Ann Arbor Detectives. The murder weapon has never been recovered.
Detectives were able to determine that Elkhoja was the prime suspect in the case based upon statements obtained at the scene. Officers went to his residence and placed him under arrest. Searching the residence they found credit cards that had been stolen from the house across the street from where the party was being held. Allegedly Elkhoja stole these before going to the party.
At Elkhoja's preliminary exam, a witness testified he was at the party with Elkhoja and that Seitz was “coming after” Elkhoja, who fired the warning shot in the air. According to the witness, Seitz did not heed this warning shot and continued to come at Elkhoja. Elkhoja lowered the gun as Seitz proceeded toward Elkhoja and the witness then observed the flash of the gun. He was the only witness called by the defense. After the testimony Elkhoja was bound over to circuit court to stand trial for murder.
Vijay Bulla was an engineer that lived in a quiet apartment complex on the westside of Ann Arbor. On October 13, 1999, he left his job at Michigan Automotive Compressor in Jackson and traveled to his residence. Investigators would later find out that shortly after his arrival, a former suitor of his wife's sister, Satish Mariswamy, came to Bulla's apartment to confront him about comments Bulla made about him. He would leave the apartment after murdering Bulla.
Bulla's wife came home from work and found her husband alone, lying in a pool of blood, obviously deceased. When officers arrived they found the deceased Bulla in the kitchen, stabbed to death, his throat slit.
Initially officers had no suspects and there were no witnesses. Speaking with neighbors, no one heard anything suspicious, even though there was evidence of a struggle. Detectives began interviewing Bulla's wife and found that Mariswamy had recently been living at their apartment. He was staying with them until it was determined if Mariswamy was worthy to marry her sister. All involved were from India and Mariswamy wanted to enter into an arranged marriage with the younger sister of Bulla's wife.
Evidently the family of Bulla's wife wanted him to determine if Mariswamy was a worthy candidate for their daughter. After Bulla spoke with his wife's family, they would not let Mariswamy marry their daughter.
On the day of the murder, the two argued and a fight ensued. The fight escalated and Mariswamy slit Bulla's throat. Mariswamy then tried to make the death look like a robbery gone bad. The apartment was ransacked and a number of items were taken from the apartment.
Within two short days, the suspect was brought into the police station by members of the Indian community. During the interview, Mariswamy admitted to the killing but said it was an accident. At his arraignment a sobbing Mariswamy told the judge, “I never intended to do it. It was an accident.”
Detective David Burke testified that Mariswamy first grabbed a computer cord and began choking Bulla with it. When he got tired he then picked up a wrench and began striking Bulla with it. Bulla collapsed in the kitchen as Mariswamy continued to choke him. He then picked up a kitchen knife and delivered the fatal wound to the defenseless Bulla.
Mariswamy is currently in prison for the death of Vijay Bulla.
The Passing of Gaye Limon
While it was my intention to only write about events that occurred from the beginning of the police department until the end of 1999, Gaye Limon's death made me change this thought. Gaye died on June 12, 2000, after fighting a courageous battle with cancer. Gaye started with the police department in 1996 as a civilian employee. Gaye was an extremely dedicated employee who continued to come to work as she battled the cancer. Gaye's three year battle with cancer taught many other people how to handle adversity. Instead of complaining about her situation, Gaye continued with her life, struggling through the pain while continuing to come to work, even on her worst days. Gaye was so proud of her association with the police department that before she died, she asked permission to be buried in her civilian police employee uniform. Gaye loved the many officers but was especially fond of Althea Duede, Amy Ellinger, Phil Scheel, Richard Blake and Greg O'Dell. Gaye was a marvelous artist and is missed by her family at the Ann Arbor Police Department.