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Military Vehicle Panics Detroit Suburb on July 4th

John Lind and others inside the World War II era armored military vehicle may have just been celebrating the Fourth of July.

But they sent people watching fireworks near Lind's Shelby Township home into a panic as a .50-caliber machine gun atop the vehicle, modified to fire compressed gas, emitted a bright flash and loud, realistic gunfire sounds. A flurry of 911 calls brought a response from several police agencies.

And now Lind, 49, a military veteran, is facing possible criminal charges in the Thursday night incident and township police are investigating who else was inside the 1944 M20 armored utility car, nicknamed Lonely Bull, as it took a spin through the neighborhood.

Lind was arrested and released after he posted $10,000 bond on Friday, township Police Chief Roland Woelkers said. No formal charges have been filed, and the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office told police Monday to continue its investigation.

Lind, a re-enacter and director and founder of the Detroit Arsenal for Democracy museum, was not home Monday afternoon.

Tony Jamil and Haifa Jamil, who have lived on nearby Erma Street for eight years, had not seen the vehicle until Thursday night as hundreds of people gathered at the lake behind their homes or along the small street to watch fireworks. Others, mostly from outside the neighborhood, watched the fireworks from a nearby hill as the armored vehicle rode up and down the streets.

Tony Jamil said he could hear the sounds in between the fireworks. They sounded real, but not as loud as gunfire.

"If he was just having fun, we feel bad for him, we really do," Haifa Jamil said. "But he did scare a lot of people."

Woelkers said many of the concerned people were out-of-town visitors.

"Some of the moms and kids were pretty upset," the police chief said.

Woelkers said Lind was charged because he is the owner of the vehicle.

Lind is a veteran of the Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy, according to the website for the museum, which specializes in World War II military vehicles. The vehicles are shown at events through the metro Detroit area, according to the website.

It has a picture of the M20 vehicle, which could carry a crew of two plus four passengers. It weighs 12,250 pounds and measures more than 7 feet tall, 8 feet wide and 16 feet long.

It was primarily was used as a command vehicle and for forward reconnaissance, but many served also as cargo carriers. It offered high speed and good mobility along with some protection against small-arms fire and shrapnel, according to the website.

About 3,700 were built by Ford during its two years in production (1943-44).

Woelkers said police are holding onto the vehicle pending the investigation.

Copyright 2013 - Detroit Free Press

McClatchy-Tribune News Service