CMU professor arrested, released on bond after shooting at traveling vacuum salesmen


A Central Michigan University professor was arrested after allegedly firing a shotgun at two door-to-door salesmen on June 5, according to an arrest record filed by the Isabella County Sheriff's Department.

Robert Dale Lee, 61, of Mount Pleasant, was arraigned on June 6 and has been charged with one count of felonious assault and one count of carrying a firearm with unlawful intent.

Lee was released after posting 10 percent of his $10,000 bond.

The incident occurred at 6:05 p.m. on Thursday after two vacuum cleaner salesmen approached Lee's home. The professor came to the door and gestured "one minute" to the salesmen and then disappeared behind his garage, according to an affidavit issued to the Isabella County Trial Court. The two salesmen reportedly became suspicious and decided to leave.

Lee appeared from behind a pole barn near the home and proceeded to fire two shots at the men as they sped away in a van. One of the victims reported hearing the pellets “whiz” by his open driver’s side window, read the affidavit.

No injuries or damage to the salesmen's van were reported. A 20 gauge shotgun was recovered at Lee's home. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the incident.

Lee teaches in CMU's Human Environmental Studies department.  A note was attached to the door of his FNS 370 classroom notifying his students that the class has been cancelled and that the final exam will be waived.

Meanwhile, Lee's future with the university remains unclear.

"The nature of the allegations raise serious concerns for the university, and a process for addressing the matter is currently under review," said Steve Smith, director of public relations for University Communications.

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