Oak Park man, 19, charged in shooting of 2 cops

George Hunter
The Detroit News

A 19-year-old Oak Park man who told police he fired a shotgun blast through his door because he feared for his life was charged Wednesday in the shooting that wounded two Detroit Police officers.

Wayne County prosecutors allege Juwan Alexander Plummer shot the officers as they were responding to reports of a burglary just before midnight Sunday at a vacant home in the 20500 block of Lesure on the city’s northwest side.

Plummer is charged with two counts each of: Intentional discharge of a firearm in a building causing serious injury; intentional discharge of a firearm in a building causing injury; felonious assault; and four counts of felony firearm. The charges carry more than 20 years in prison.

The house where the shootings occurred — which was across the street from the vacant home — had been burglarized Thursday. The grandfather of the home’s 19-year-old occupant had given him a shotgun to protect his family, police Chief James Craig said this week.

“It appears maybe this subject thought he was the victim of a burglary and was trying to protect his home,” Craig said.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the officers, both 25 years old, knocked on the door of Plummer’s mother’s home, and as they walked away, Plummer fired from inside the structure, striking both, authorities allege.

One of the officers was hit in the jaw and had two pellets removed from his face. He is scheduled to have oral surgery Thursday. Craig said he expects a full recovery.

The second officer, who was hit with a piece of shrapnel, was treated and released.

The man told police he didn’t know he was shooting at officers.

“The victims could well have been a neighbor, or a small child,” Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement. “The lives of these officers, who were doing their jobs, will never be the same and we must hold people accountable for their actions.”

Wayne County prosecutors in 2014 charged Dearborn Heights resident Theodore Wafer with second-degree-murder after he killed 19-year-old Renisha McBride by shooting her through his front door.

Like Plummer, Wafer said he shot in self-defense because he thought someone was breaking into his home. Wafer was convicted and sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in prison.

In January, the Michigan Supreme Court agreed to look at the case after Wafer’s attorney claimed prosecutors charged him twice for the same slaying, which they said constitutes double jeopardy.

Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller said there are crucial differences between the two cases. “The facts and evidence that support the charges in the Plummer case will come out in court,” she said.

Wayne State University Law professor Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor, said Plummer likely wasn’t charged with attempted murder because it’s a difficult charge to prove.

“In order to charge someone with attempted murder, you have to prove that person wanted to kill the victim,” Henning said. “Intent is difficult to prove.

“With (Wafer’s) second-degree murder charge, you don’t have to prove intent; only extreme recklessness,” he said. “It’s a fine distinction, but an important one.”


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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN