Pubdate: Mon, 05 Dec 2005
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Copyright: 2005 Detroit Free Press
Author: Zlati Meyer, Free Press Staff Writer


When you think of Farmington Hills, drug-related executions don't leap to mind.

But they are reality in the Oakland County city that annually ranks 
among the country's safest in FBI statistics. Since Friday, 
Farmington Hills investigators have been dealing with a shooting that 
killed a 41-year-old man who was believed to have drug connections.

A targeted hit, like the one that police say ended Kerry Beatty's 
life, may be the ultimate backhanded compliment -- and less 
extraordinary than you expect.

"We're not naive. ... Most of the narcotic cartels take refuge in 
communities like Farmington Hills," Police Chief William Dwyer said 
Sunday. "They have families themselves. They have kids. They want 
them to go to the schools. Even though they're dirty themselves, they 
want their kids safe in their safe communities."

Police did not disclose details of Beatty's personal life, but Dwyer 
said the Southfield resident was shot three times and killed about 9 
p.m. Friday while visiting the Village Green, an apartment complex at 
Haggerty and 14 Mile.

Police said Beatty ran from two shooters who had ambushed him and 
that he was hit at close range by a third when he was on the ground.

A search of the apartment Beatty was visiting yielded $100,000 in 
cash and drug-related materials.

Investigators also recovered a .45-caliber gun and a 9mm gun from the 
crime scene.

"This was not a random-type robbery or murder," Dwyer said. "This was 
a well-planned, executed hit."

Farmington Hills police are offering a $5,000 reward for information 
leading to the arrest of Beatty's killers.

Tipsters, who can remain anonymous, may call 248-871-2610 anytime.

Eighteen months earlier, another gruesome slaying rocked Farmington 
Hills. A 21-year-old resident, Armond Hickmon, was shot at least 11 
times in the face, head and chest as he left his apartment in the 
Independence Green complex at Grand River and Halsted around 7 a.m. 
on June 22, 2004.

A trio of hitmen had mistaken the victim for his brother, 31-year-old 
Antoine Hickmon, who testified before a federal grand jury in a major 
marijuana case the previous October.

"That is the reality. If you have a criminal organization that 
generates a lot of income, the heads of those organizations are going 
to live in nice neighborhoods, places they believe they'll be safe," 
said Wayne State University law professor Peter Henning.

"This type of killing is not generally a threat to the public, at 
least not at this point," Henning said. "It's not something you need 
to fear. The only concern is if it's a precursor to some kind of gang 
warfare. Then, you'd be concerned about third parties getting into 
the line of fire."

Dwyer could not rule out the possibility, though, when he spoke of 
Friday's shooting.

"This happens periodically where there are drug wars," he said. "It 
could be leading into something of one organization fighting another 
organization for control of turf areas. ...

"There's so much money to be made in the drug field that it's very 
common for these drug wars to appear."
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