Man charged in Sunday shooting at DPI workers

Benjamin Atwater

ALPENA — An Alpena man has been charged with multiple felonies after being arrested by police under suspicion of firing a handgun at employees working on the roof of Decorative Panels International in Alpena on Sunday.

Nobody was hurt in the shooting.

Benjamin C. Atwater, 58, of Alpena, was arraigned in the 88th District Court on Wednesday, charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder or strangulation, a felony offense punishable by 10 years imprisonment or a $5,000 fine, firing a gun in or at a building, a felony punishable by 10 years imprisonment and/or $10,000 fine, assault with a dangerous weapon, a felony punishable by four years and/or $2,000 fine, and felony firearm, punishable by up to two years with and preceding any term of imprisonment imposed for the felony or attempted felony conviction.

A bond has not yet been set. Atwater was ordered to have no contact with victims.

DPI employees conducting maintenance on the roof had to take cover when multiple shots were fired at around 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Police, after ensuring the safety of DPI employees, surrounded Atwater’s home on the 600 block of Ford Avenue. Atwater did not respond to police’s initial attempts to contact him until he suddenly came out of the front door at about 9 p.m. and was arrested without incident.

When questioned as to a possible motive for the incident, Chief Joel Jett of the Alpena Police Department responded, “Regardless of what may have caused this, our primary concern was that nobody was hurt.”

Atwater planned to hire his own attorney, but had not yet done so on Wednesday.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or jriddle@thealpenanews.com.