Hill (Detroit Police)
Detroit— Detroit police Officer Patrick Hill, who died Saturday after being comatose since April, was likely shot by a fellow police officer amid a flurry of bullets during a standoff with a murder suspect, Police Chief James Craig said Monday.
In response to Hill’s death, Craig said he’s ordering a review of how his officers are trained. He said the way officers “boxed in” the suspect’s vehicle near Linwood and Hooker following a high-speed chase on the city’s west side is not departmental policy.
Craig also criticized the internal police investigation into the April 2 incident.
“Since becoming chief, I’ve noted concerns about the initial investigation into this matter,” Craig said. “To put it frank, this investigation was what I would describe as status quo. There was a lack of urgency, and complacency.”
Craig said he wants all officer-involved shootings to be investigated within 72 hours.
Hill was part of a special anti-crime task force. The incident occurred after officers and Hill executed a traffic stop on the driver of a silver Dodge Magnum.The driver, murder suspect and convicted armed robber Matthew Joseph, 24, did not comply, police said.
A two-mile chase ensued until two squad cars boxed in Joseph’s car.
Seconds after Detroit Police Sgt. Jeffrey Pacholski got out of his vehicle, Joseph opened fire, striking him twice in the leg and barely missing hitting his torso, Detroit Assistant Police Chief Eric Jones said.
“This all occurred within seconds,” Jones said. “There were 32 rounds fired in just seven seconds. (Joseph) was hell-bent on killing a police officer; he told his partner several times he planned to do that.
“When Sgt. Pacholski exited his vehicle, he was shot twice in the leg,” Jones said. “There was another bullet-hole in his shirt that missed him.
“The officer we believe fired the shot (that killed Hill) feared for the sergeant’s life, so he fired on the suspect,” Jones said.
A pellet from that officer’s shotgun blast skipped off the suspect’s car and struck Hill in the head, Craig said.
Jones noted that a woman inside Joseph’s car at the time was not shot.
“This wasn’t just police officers randomly machine-gunning at a car,” he said. “The officers directed their fire at the suspect because he was firing on another officer.”
At the time of the shootout, Joseph was on parole for two armed robberies.
As with all police-related shootings, the case will be reviewed by Wayne County prosecutors, although Craig said he doesn’t believe the officer whose shot hit Hill will face charges.
“This is a tragedy,” Craig said. “Every officer involved in this incident is a hero.”
A funeral for Hill, a married father of four and a 12-year veteran of the Police Department, is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at Greater Grace Temple, at 23500 W. Seven Mile, Detroit.
Visitation is 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the James Cole Funeral Home, at 16100 Schaefer in Detroit, with family hours from 4-6 p.m.