Detroit officer shot Wednesday remains critical

Mark Hicks, and George Hunter
The Detroit News

A Detroit police officer has been critically injured after being shot in the head while responding to a barricaded gunman Wednesday night, police said.

Officials said Thursday morning the officer remained in critical condition.

Police received a call about 10:30 p.m. from someone they believe to be the suspect indicating “he had just assaulted his wife” at a home in the 5500 block of McDougall, First Assistant Police Chief LaShinda Stair said.

Police also received another call from a female, possibly a daughter, suggesting the 43-year-old man was armed and appeared to have had a mental breakdown, Deputy Chief Elvin Barren told reporters.

As scout cars pulled up to the residence, they spotted a man outside who appeared to have a weapon and “took a stance whereby he was ready to fire a shot,” Stair said.

Soon after hearing gunfire, an officer driving one of the patrol cars noticed his partner in the passenger seat had been hurt, she told reporters. That driver alerted other officers then rushed his colleague to Detroit Receiving Hospital where he underwent surgery.

Police officials said the officer is 25 and joined the force nearly two years ago. He has a 9-month-old child.

The officer is a member of the 7th Precinct Special Operations Unit, Commissioner Willie Burton said. “He’s a great, hard-working officer,” he said. “Members often see him at community meetings, talking with residents.”

The officer also hails from a family of police; his father still works for the department but was not on duty Wednesday night, Stair said.

The Detroit officer is the third to be shot in Michigan within 24 hours. A Michigan State Police detective and a trooper were shot Wednesday morning as they were serving a search warrant in northern Branch County, officials said.

“We had eight officers shot in the line of duty last year and we’re back at this again,” Burton said.

As the officer recuperated at Detroit Receiving Hospital, dozens of colleagues remained on site early Thursday.

The incident underscored the daily dangers they face, Assistant Police Chief Arnold Williams said while standing outside the emergency room entrance.

“We’ve had too many losses in our department. We’ve had too many injured officers,” he told reporters. “It’s a hard job and we’re doing it for the community. Sometimes people lose that respect.”

The gunman remained holed up in the home alone until a chemical agent authorities deployed drove him out at about 2:30 a.m., and he was arrested, Barren said. "We're thankful that we did bring this to a resolution."

He earlier negotiated with a SWAT team, and at one point threatened "suicide by cop," then went silent, the deputy chief said.

The man, whose name investigators have not yet released, has a criminal history, including an arrest for assault and a drug-related incident, but no convictions, Barren said. Relatives also told investigators they believe he has mental issues, but police had not confirmed a diagnosis early Thursday, Williams said.

Police learned the man had as many as nine handguns registered in his name and once had a concealed pistol license, Barren said.

As the situation unfolded, others weighed in on Twitter. “Our thoughts are with our brothers & sisters @ #detroitpolice #DPD for the Officer shot,” Plymouth police wrote on Twitter after the shooting. “Prayers for recovery.”

Another user tweeted: “Prayers the officer will be ok.”

Gov. Rick Snyder also wished the officer well in a tweet Thursday.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the Detroit police officer who was shot last night, his family, colleagues and the entire law enforcement community," he said in the tweet.