Police find man’s backpack, but no trace of him
Detroit Free Press, July 9, 2003
BY LAURA POTTS AND CHRIS CHRISTOFF, FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS
FREMONT — Police were uncertain Tuesday night whether a man who barricaded himself inside a house during a confrontation Monday that left a State Police trooper dead was alive.
Scott Woodring, 41, was believed to be in the home when police fired a stun grenade into the house Tuesday afternoon. Shortly afterward, the house went up in flames and burned down.
But two hours after the fire, officials found a backpack filled with food and ammunition about three-quarters of a mile from the wreckage, Michigan State Police communications officer Tracy Pardo said.
Woodring’s wife identified the backpack as his, Pardo said.
Police searched the rubble late Tuesday afternoon but found no trace of Woodring, who lived in a rural area near Fremont.
State Police Inspector Barry Getzen said he assumed Woodring might still be in the basement, though he would not say whether he was dead. Getzen said police fired percussion rounds in the house to temporarily disable anyone inside because they did not believe Woodring would come out. They believed he may have had supplies to last a long time in a standoff.
Getzen said percussion rounds are capable of starting a fire, which he called unintended consequences.
State Trooper Kevin Marshall, 33, died after he was shot as he and other State Police officers tried to enter the home Monday. Police said Woodring threatened police from Hesperia when they tried to serve him a felony warrant for soliciting a minor for immoral purposes.
They said Woodring fired shots at them as they tried to negotiate with him, prompting the State Police to rush the house.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm ordered flags at state buildings to be lowered to half staff Tuesday to honor Marshall. Flags will remain lowered until sundown of the day of Marshall’s funeral, Granholm said.
“Michigan’s citizens need only to see the regal blue of a state trooper’s uniform to see a true hero in their midst,” Granholm said.
Woodring was known for his outspoken antigovernment views, and had ties to a Michigan militia unit until he was kicked out. Tom Wayne, executive officer of the Michigan Militia Wolverine Corps, said Woodring was among a group who professed Christian Identity views, which promote white supremacy, anti-Semitism and self-rule government.
“He was misguided in a lot of his stuff. We used to be friends,” Wayne said. “I tried to take him out of this stuff, but it was too ingrained with these other clowns.
“He was a nice guy.”
Woodring modeled his beliefs after the Freemen of Montana, a Christian Identity sect that made national headlines in 1996 when they held off federal FBI agents in an 81-day standoff in Montana.
That year, Woodring ran unsuccessfully for the post of Dayton Township supervisor in rural Newaygo County on an antigovernment platform modeled after the Freemen.
Woodring’s brother, Doug Woodring, 35, said Scott Woodring didn’t trust authorities.
“To him, the authorities were a threat to his safety,” Doug Woodring said. “He’s a very loving person; he would never intentionally hurt anyone. The only way anyone would get hurt is if he felt threatened.”
Rich and Ruth Lucas, neighbors of Woodring, said he was helpful, plowing their driveway after winter snowstorms. They said he had once worked at Gerber, a baby food manufacturer, but was unemployed.
“He would help you in any way he can, but he is very, very antigovernment,” Rich Lucas said.