BLISSFIELD, Mich. (AP) — A search that began over the weekend continued Monday for a 38-year-old Ohio man charged in the fatal shootings of his ex-girlfriend and her sister and the wounding of their mother in southeastern Michigan.
Michigan State Police said Monday that Thomas Fritz of Sylvania, Ohio, faces two counts of open murder and one count of assault with intent to commit murder in Lenawee County. He’s accused of killing 24-year-old Lisa Gritzmaker and 33-year-old Amy Merrill. Police say he also wounded their mother, 52-year-old Robin Lynn McCowan.
All were shot late Friday night in Blissfield, about 20 miles northwest of Toledo, Ohio. Police found the women at a home after responding to a 911 call from one of the victims.
McCowan is hospitalized.
Police said they consider Fritz to be armed and dangerous. They believe he is driving a burgundy or maroon 2002 Honda four-door vehicle with Ohio plates.
Fritz was indicted on one count of sexual battery in 2005, convicted by a jury a year later in April 2006 and sentenced to a year in state prison, according to the Ohio prisons agency and court records. A judge also deemed Fritz a sexually oriented offender in May 2006, and Fritz’s name and photo appears on the Lucas County, Ohio, sex offender registry.
The fireworks had just ended at Blissfield’s annual festival and residents were still dispersing when authorities were called to Merrill’s home late Friday night.
Neighbors told The Associated Press on Monday that she and Fritz had lived in the white two-story house on a corner for about six months with two of her children and a young child they had together.
Crime scene tape that surrounded the house had been removed Monday. A child-sized plastic picnic table sat on a back deck.
“It’s a small community — most people know who each other are,” said Shellie LaTour, a local bartender who knew the victims by sight. “It’s extremely shocking. The whole town, there’s just this solemn, eerie feeling. You just don’t know how to think and feel.”
Jeff Karoub reported from Detroit. Associated Press writer Andrew Welsh-Huggins contributed from Columbus, Ohio.