Detroit Fire DepartmentNews

Man who exposed Detroit deputy chief’s bar visit has house raided after catching arsonist

Click here to watch one of Alex Haggart’s Periscope videos of October 14 arson in progress.

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The home of a Detroit area freelance videographer was raided yesterday (Tuesday) morning because of his role in catching a fleeing arsonist 10 days earlier. According to Steve Neavling at Motor City Muckraker, investigators siezed Alex Haggart’s “car, phone, computer, camera, drone, scanners and even his children’s electronic tablets.”

Haggart is also being publicly criticized by Chief of Fire Investigations Pat McNulty for stopping the woman. McNulty told Detroit Free Press reporter Tresa Baldas that Haggart’s actions bordered on vigilantism and that Haggart shouldn’t “do our job for us.”

Previously: Detroit deputy chief gets time off for bar visit in fire SUV

Detroit deputy chief under investigation after fire SUV found at a bar

The investigation, so far, is apparently centering on whether Haggart held the woman at gun point, something he denies.

But this isn’t the only recent controversy involving Alex Haggart. It was Haggart’s images a week before the raid that showed Deputy Detroit Fire Chief Robert Shinske at a bar in a fire department SUV. Shinske was given five days off for that infraction.

Steve Neavling, Motor City Muckraker:

Local authorities claim Haggart, who has not been charged as of Tuesday evening, broke the law for holding the woman at gunpoint, an allegation he denies. Haggart said he never left his Jeep or flashed a firearm.

The videos on Periscope show no gun, but a fire official told me that Haggart said in a now-deleted video that he held the arsonist at gunpoint.

Detroit Fire Chief Robert Shinske from WDIV-TV

The arrest warrant was served about a week after Haggart exposed Deputy Detroit Fire Chief Robert Shinske for violating department policy for using a city vehicle to visit a Dearborn bar.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell declined to comment on the search warrant, saying the Detroit Police Department is handling the case. We’re awaiting comment from police.

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Alex Haggart image of Detroit Fire Department SUV parked at bar

Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press:

“I detained her using my vehicle. But the gunpoint thing – I didn’t have a gun on me at the time,” said Haggart, who explained how he caught the fleeing arsonist in the Oct. 14 blaze.

“I screamed out of fear and shock. I said, ‘Freeze. Don’t move,’ ” Haggart recalled of the incident. “She stood still for quite awhile. We kept calling 911 — to no answer.”

But police eventually showed and arrested the woman — a scene that played out on Detroit’s east side while Haggart sat in his car with a friend and videotaped it all.

McNulty would not elaborate on the investigation into Haggart’s actions and declined to comment on whether Haggart is part of a broader probe involving a rise in arsons.

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