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Father blames drugs after son charged in mother's shooting death while driving


Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that the shooting occurred on Thanksgiving.  

Pleasant Ridge — The father of a 22-year-old Troy man charged in the Thanksgiving shooting death of his mother blames drugs for his son's state of mind, he told The Detroit News.

George Michael Harry II was formally charged Tuesday with open murder, five counts of attempted murder and six counts of felony firearm in the incident.

Royal Oak 44th District Magistrate Donald Chisholm said the charges were "as serious as they can get" and denied bond. Chisholm set a Dec. 10 probable cause conference in the case and a Dec. 17 preliminary examination. 

It was about 10 p.m. Thursday when the family gathering on Detroit's west side was disturbed.

"Michael's outside waving a gun," someone said, referring to Harry, 22, recalled his father, George Michael Harry, during an interview with The News on Monday. Both men go by their middle names. 

"Mike had been totally out of it that night," his father, Michael, said. "Something caused my son to trip."

But he said he's not sure what.

Mike's mother, Sonya Harry, went outside to give her son a ride home. She asked her husband to grab her purse.

"It was my intention to get in the car with them," Michael said. "There was no way I was leaving my wife alone."

But by the time he got outside, they were gone, presumably headed to Troy.

Michael went to his son's home. And waited. Other family members arrived at the Troy home and waited. They heard nothing. 

Michael went back to he and Sonya's home and was "up all night," hoping Sonya would return. He filed a missing person report for his wife.

On Friday morning, there was a knock on his door and two police officers on his porch who informed him of his wife's death.

Police said Sonya Harry was driving north on Woodward near the Royal Oak and Pleasant Ridge border about 10:30 p.m. Thursday when motorists phoned in “shots fired” emergency calls. Police believe her son, who was a rear passenger in his mother’s Ford Edge, shot her in the head once with a 9 mm pistol at point-blank range as they passed underneath the Interstate 696 overpass bridge. Sonya Harry lost control of the vehicle and crashed.

After the shooting, police say, Mike allegedly shot at three other vehicles and wounded a 43-year-old Ferndale woman. An infant was in one of the vehicles but was not harmed. The woman was treated for her injuries and released.

"Five other people (other motorists) not associated or with any connection to this matter other than being at the wrong place at the wrong time," the judge noted at arraignment.

It was a video arraignment with Harry incarcerated at the Oakland County Jail.

"I'm not mad at my son, as much as I am sorry for him," Michael said. "On the drugs that he was using, your best friend seems to be your enemy."

It was not unusual for Mike to sit in the back seat when both of his parents were in the front seats, Michael said. As for why he'd do it with only two people in the vehicle, Michael attributed that to "habit."

The shooting has left both the family and police wondering why it happened.

"A motive for the shooting was not immediately known," the sheriff's office said. 

"That's her boy, and she was his girl," Michael said of his son and wife. "I will never understand why this happened. He's a good boy. I know he committed a heinous crime and deserves his punishment, but he's a good kid."

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319

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