Arrest made in 2010 hit-style murder case

By Jennie Miller
Police said the murderer had been lying in wait.
When his target emerged, he opened fire. Satisfied the victim was dead, he fled the scene.

For 10 months, Mike Khmoro’s murderer evaded capture, but Southfield Police believe they now have the man they’ve been looking for.

Bruce Harland Butler, 48, of Southfield, was arrested Aug. 5 and charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He was arraigned Aug. 6 before Magistrate Cynthia Arvant in Southfield’s 46th District Court, and is set to return at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 10 for a pre-exam conference.

Mazin Khmoro, 48, known as Mike, was an employee of Cronin’s Liquor Store, in the 29000 block of Northwestern Highway in Southfield, which was owned by his family. At 4 p.m. Oct. 6, 2010, Khmoro was taking the trash out to the Dumpster in the rear parking lot of the business when he was shot and killed.

Witnesses reported hearing several gunshots and then observing a black, four-door midsized SUV, possibly a GMC Envoy, exit the parking lot.

The crime shocked the community and shattered Khmoro’s loved ones, who said that Khmoro was a family man — he was married with three children — had a kind and gentle soul, and would never hurt anyone. He didn’t deserve this fate, they said.

The Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce put up a $10,000 reward through Crime Stoppers of Michigan for information related to the case as part of a fund it established to deter violence against Chaldean business owners.

Police said a tip helped lead to Butler’s arrest.

“We’d like to thank the public for cooperating with our request for information,” said Southfield Police Lt. Nick Loussia. “Communities are better off when law enforcement and citizens work together.”

“It was really nice that somebody was able to come forward and provide that information,” said Acting Police Chief Bryan Jarrell. “It was going to be one of those cases that was going to be difficult to solve. But our guys are doing just a great job following up on everything and making sure the pieces of the puzzle do fit.”

“Hopefully this will be the beginning of closure for the family,” Loussia added. “Even though this doesn’t bring back Mike, hopefully this can begin the healing process for the family.”

Martin Manna, executive director of the Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce, said the family is still coping with their loss.

“It was such a tragic loss for them,” Manna said. “(He was) a kind, generous person who never hurt anyone. … (He was) trying to support and feed his family. It’s just so difficult.

“We’re happy to see that hopefully justice will be served,” Manna continued. “There is a sense of happiness that the money we posted helped lead to an arrest. We were hoping to never have to use the money, but we hope in the future it will become a deterrent. More than 100 Chaldeans have been killed in their place of business. … The fund was established to avenge … the loss of life in senseless violence.”

Because the investigation is still ongoing, police are not yet releasing the motive for the homicide.

Butler’s attorney was listed as Joseph Niskar, according to court records. Niskar could not be reached for comment.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) SPEAK-UP, or the Southfield Police Department at (248) 796-5500.