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Man says he was drunk, angry when killed neighbors

Updated at: 10/31/2013 6:35 PM
By JEFF KAROUB

(AP) DETROIT - A 66-year-old great-grandfather told police he was filled with anger and alcohol when he shot two women with an assault rifle in a Detroit retirement home, enraged at what he believed were their persistent intrusions into his relationship with another woman.

Mike Reda’s videotaped interrogation with Detroit police detectives was played in court Thursday during a hearing at which a judge determined there was enough evidence for him to stand trial on two counts of first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder and other felony charges. He’s accused of shooting Deborah Socia, 59, and Maria Gonzalez, 61, on Oct. 20 at the two-story, 80-unit Pablo Davis Elder Living Center on the city’s southwest side.

"I was drunk, I was angry," Reda told investigators. "I just couldn’t take it no more."

Reda said during the interrogation on the day after the shootings that he was retired, lived alone at the center and had seven children as well as more than two dozen grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He had dated the same woman for several years, but said the two women had befriended her and frequently kept the girlfriend away from him.

He said he’d been drinking brandy and couldn’t remember most details of the day, but later in the interview told the two detectives that he approached Socia and another man, Paul Fratangelo, on the center’s grounds with his MP5 rifle. Reda said his rifle discharged one time "by accident."

Reda said he then went inside to Gonzalez’s apartment, kicked in her door and shot her twice in the head.

He asked detectives twice if the women were alive or dead, and at the end of the interview one investigator told him they were dead. Reda paused, sighed heavily and said, "That’s really bad."

Defense attorney Bryan Sherer declined comment before and after the hearing. Friends and family members of the victims also declined comment outside court.

Fratangelo testified that he was sitting on a bench with Socia, smoking a cigarette and talking before dinner, when Reda walked toward them. Fratangelo, 61, said Reda swung his weapon back and forth between the two while ordering Fratangelo to "basically get on my knees and pray."

"I said, `Mike, not this. Not like this. We’re both vets.’ I’m basically pleading with my life," Fratangelo said, adding that Reda seemed "on edge" but "very composed."

Fratangelo said Socia asked Reda what he was doing, and he fired his gun one time. Afterward, Fratangelo said he entered the building and tried to trap Reda between two sets of doors. Fratangelo then "bolted down the hall," told Socia’s son that "Mike is on a rampage" and to "call 911."

The judge struck down Sherer’s argument that Fratangelo wasn’t injured or threatened so his client shouldn’t be held on the charge of assault with intent to murder.

Reda’s first appearance in trial court is scheduled for Monday.

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(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)