BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Battle Creek police have named a relative of a man who was shot and killed Friday morning as a person of interest.
The shooting happened around 10:30 a.m. Friday at Battle Creek Tile & Mosaic Co., Inc. on West Michigan Avenue in the Urbandale neighborhood.
Police confirmed to 24 Hour News 8 that the victim is 63-year-old Frank Zanetti of Bedford Township, who was a part-owner of the longtime family-run business.
Investigators say the suspect entered the business, asked specifically for Zanetti, and then shot him in the head at point-blank range. It happened in the back of the store, police said. Zanetti died at the scene.
Friday night, police named 47-year-old Brian Zanetti as a person of interest in the case. He is described to be approximately 5 foot 5 and 170 pounds. He may be driving a dark gray Hyundai Accent with license plate number DMZ6566.
Authorities are working to determine Brian Zanetti exact relationship to the victim, and would like to speak to him.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call 911, the Battle Creek Police Department at 269.966.3375 or Silent Observer at 269.964.3888.
“It appears that this suspect had some kind of a dealing or issue with Frank directly,” BCPD Sgt. Troy Gilleylen said at a press conference Friday afternoon.
However, police don’t know specifically what that issue may have been. They’re still working to determine a motive in the shooting.
Police said the suspect took off immediately after pulling the trigger. He hasn’t been seen since.
A handful of witnesses were inside when the shooting happened, including Zanetti’s daughter who works at the store. No one else was hurt, but police said witnesses did not recognize the suspect.
The suspect is described as a white male who is approximately 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a teal hoodie, a teal baseball cap and had a blue bandana over his face, according to police.
“We are desperately trying to locate this person,” Gilleylen said at the press conference.
Police said the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous, but investigators believe the shooting this is an isolated incident and said there is no on-going threat to the public.
Zanetti’s friends said his death is devastating for the Urbandale neighborhood and the community of Battle Creek.
“He’s just touched so many lives. The company has touched so many lives,” Terry Newton, one of Zanetti’s longtime friends, told reporters at the scene.
Newton said he is baffled by the crime. He couldn’t imagine why someone would want Zanetti dead.
“I can’t believe that anyone would want to do this. This is beyond comprehension,” Newton said.
Holding back tears, Newton tried to pull a positive out of the tragedy.
“I know he’s sitting with God already,” Newton said.
There was no surveillance video inside the store, police said, but they are checking the area to see if other businesses may have captured the suspect on camera. It’s unclear if he fled on foot or hopped in a car and left the scene.
Anyone with information on the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to call 911, the Battle Creek Police Department at 269.966.3375 or Silent Observer at 269.781.9700.
Battle Creek police noted Friday’s shooting is the first homicide in the city this year.
Superintendent Kim Carter said all schools near the shooting scene were put on lockdown as a precaution, including Battle Creek Central High School. That lockdown was lifted shortly after noon Friday.