Michael Shereda was at a park in Utica, Michigan, for his granddaughter’s first birthday when he approached a man doing drugs nearby, witnesses say.
The 57-year-old told the man, whom police have not yet identified, that young children were nearby and he should stop, according to WJBK. In turn, police say the suspect repeatedly stabbed Shereda to death as his family and other passersby watched in horror.
Hunter Perks, who witnessed the attack, said he approached the scene because he saw “a lot of commotion,” according to WDIV. Then he saw the grisly carnage after police say the man stabbed Shereda at least 15 times as children played in the park.
“I was freaking out,” Perks reportedly told WDIV. “My heart dropped into my stomach. It shocked me. I was shaking.”
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Christopher Kalfas told WNEM that he was best friends with Shereda, whom he described as “a very good man” with “a big family.”
According to WJBK, the deceased leaves behind 17 grandchildren and six children.
The unidentified assailant was sitting on a park bench before the attack, witnesses said, and appeared to be inhaling containers of laughing gas often referred to as “whippets,” according to The Macomb Daily. Police say Shereda confronted the man, who in turn knocked the 57-year-old to the ground and pulled out what appeared to be a machete as they began to argue.
Shereda “had blood all over him,” witness Amanda Pasho reportedly told The Macomb Daily. “He had his arms up to fend off the man from stabbing him.
“The man put his knee in the guy’s abdomen to hold him down and then put his arm across his face,” Pasho continued, “and began stabbing him with a knife, like non-stop, just jabbing at him with the knife.”
Perks said the man’s family was “just torn apart” as a crowd of people tried to get a look at the jarring scene, according to WNEM.
Shereda died at the scene, The Macomb Daily reported. The suspect remains in police custody.
Kalfas said the brutal death will leave a lasting imprint on the surviving family members.
“His family and grandchildren saw all that in real life here,” he told WNEM, “which was a rotten thing to do.”