Suspected cop killer goes on trial

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

The father of a 22-year-old Detroit man accused of fatally shooting a Detroit police sergeant in September 2016 testified Tuesday that his son shot him in the foot beforehand.

Sterling Cromer, 62, said he ran out of his east-side home after he sawMarquise Cromer with a sawed-off shotgun at his side.

The elder Cromer gave the account during the first day of testimony in his son’s murder trial in Wayne County Circuit Court.

Marquise Cromer allegedly shot Detroit Police Sgt. Kenneth Steil in the shoulder while officers were searching for him on Sept. 12, 2016. Steil died later a few days later of his injuries.

The elder Cromer said his son was at his home in 2100 block of Dickerson when the younger man came downstairs and shot him in the feet around 5 p.m. Sept. 11, 2016.

“I heard a loud pop sound,” Sterling Cromer testified. “I glanced. (Marquise) tried to hide the sawed-off shotgun.”

The elder Cromer said he ran to a neighbor’s house and later discovered his son had stolen a van belonging to him and his girlfriend.

Marquise Cromer allegedly confronted a 23-year-old Hamtramck man, ordered him out of his vehicle and shot him in the stomach.

The next night, police received a 911 call that a man fitting Cromer’s description was seen at a restaurant on Seven Mile near Hayes.

Steil and other officers saw Cromer and Steil was shot trying to apprehend the suspect.

Cromer’s attorney says the defendant is mentally ill and has had emotional problems since he was a young child.

Cromer has been charged with first-degree murder in Steil’s death.

Testimony continues Wednesday.