Police: WSU cop shooting suspect has history of run-ins
Detroit — Authorities say a man suspected of shooting an on-duty Wayne State police officer in the head has a history of “assaultive-type” crimes against cops.
The 31-year-old suspect, DeAngelo Davis — who was arrested about 10 p.m. Tuesday, roughly three hours after the off-campus shooting of WSU K-9 Officer Collin Rose near Lincoln and Brainard — was known to authorities, according to Wayne State Police Chief Anthony Holt.
Holt said investigators are still trying to determine what prompted the shooting but believe Rose wasn’t targeted during Rose’s stop of Davis.
WSU’s chief said during a news conference early Wednesday that Rose remains in recovery on heavy medication and a ventilator.
“It looks very grave,” Holt said. “Our prayers are with him.”
Court records show Davis has had violent run-ins with police before.
In May 2011, he was sentenced to 53 days in Wayne County Jail after pleading guilty to two charges of assaulting a police officer.
In November 2010, Davis was sentenced to 56 days in Wayne County Jail on charges related to two different offenses: attempted forgery of license plates, and assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder.
Originally, charges in the latter case included two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, one count of assault on a police officer and one count of malicious destruction of property, but those charges were dismissed.
“I can’t sugarcoat this, it is a tragedy of immense proportions,” WSU President M. Roy Wilson said at Wednesday’s news conference.
Wilson added of Davis’ arrest: “We can rest a little easier that’s he’s off the street.”
Davis, initially described by police as a person of interest then a suspect, was taken into custody after a “massive manhunt.”
It was unclear where the man was found Tuesday night. Authorities said Davis had outstanding misdemeanor warrants and is being held on those.
His arrest was made through a collaboration between Detroit and WSU police, said Detroit police Officer Shanelle Williams.
The shooting investigation employed a “full-scale homicide task force,” Holt added.
Authorities say the 29-year-old Rose is a five-year veteran who is engaged and a credit short of completing a master’s degree. Rose’s specialty is canine handling and he works with a highly-trained Vapor Wake dog, which is used to sniff-out bombs.
Detroit Police James Craig earlier Tuesday night called Rose “well-respected.”
Addressing the media outside the hospital hours after the shooting, Craig denounced the incident as a “threat on all of us.”
“This must end. It must end now,” he said of what some have called an assault on police officers across the country.
Authorities initially described the seriousness of shooting as the “first, ever” of a campus police officer but later added another officer had been shot in the leg in a less critical manner more than 36 years ago.
“He does a lot of community service,” Holt said of Rose. “He works with kids. ... He’s a very proactive officer and wants the community to be safe.”
Rose is “very young, very proactive” and made a stop of a suspect, who was on foot, “on his own,” said Holt. “He stopped, stated he was going to investigate a subject. The back-up was en route. When the back up got there, he found the officer on the ground with a gunshot wound to his head.”
Holt said officers hadn’t determined why Rose stopped the man. “We don’t know, we’re just assuming,” Holt said Tuesday night.
Betty Evans, a manager at the Lincoln Apartments, near where the shooting occurred, said there was an altercation with one of the residents before the shooting. Someone had called 911 and the officer responded.
“The officer was trying to get him to put his hands behind his back and I’m assuming he didn’t want to,” she said.
Evans said she heard one shot. “When I looked out, the officer went down and I heard two more shots.”
Wilson said “our hearts are out to him and his family.”
“This is one of the worst calls that a president of a university can get,” said Wilson, standing with Holt at the hospital Tuesday night.
The shooting follows the death of Detroit police Sgt. Kenneth Steil, who succumbed to his injuries Sept. 17 after being struck around his bullet-proof vest Sept. 12 by a suspect wielding a sawed-off shotgun. Steil, 46, was a 20-year veteran and headed the 9th Precinct Special Operations unit.
Another officer, Myron Jarrett, 40, who was helping a traffic accident investigation, was struck and killed in a hit-and-run crash Oct. 28 and thrown 30 feet. Jarrett served with the Detroit Police Department for eight years.
Tuesday’s incident joined other shootings nationwide against law enforcement in what police call an alarming spike in ambush-style attacks and other shootings of police officers. A San Antonio police detective was killed in an ambush shooting Monday. In Missouri, a St. Louis police sergeant was shot twice in the face Sunday evening as he sat in traffic in a marked police vehicle. He was released Monday.
Police officers also were shot and injured during traffic stops in Sanibel, Florida, and Gladstone, Missouri, on Sunday night, but authorities have not suggested those were targeted attacks.
“This is not unique to Detroit,” Holt said. “This is going on everywhere.”
Gov. Rick Snyder and his wife, Sue, offered their "thoughts and prayers" to Rose.
"When people dial 911, it's because they are afraid and in need of assistance," Snyder said in a statement. "Officer Rose is one of those brave individuals who will answer that call without hesitation. We should all be thankful that such dedication exists throughout Michigan's law enforcement agencies. Our police officers need our support and appreciation. This recent wave of violence against those sworn to protect and serve must end. Let's hope Officer Rose can make a full recovery and let's never forget the sacrifice he has made in service to his state."