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Detroit — A Detroit detective is attempting to solve a police officer’s death 45 years after the shooting.

Detroit Police Officer Donald O. Kimbrough was shot in 1972 while investigating a loitering report. He lived paralyzed with a bullet lodged in his back until he died in December, MLive reported.

A medical examiner ruled the death a homicide after determining the 1972 gunshot was the underlying cause behind Kimbrough’s ulcers, infection, malnutrition and septic shock.

Police Sgt. Todd Edy is now tasked with cracking the decades-old case. He has two piles of documents related to the case, one from the original investigation and another with newer evidence.

“We were a little confused; this isn’t something we see routinely,” said Edy, a member of a specialized homicide task force that includes State Police and federal agents. “Normally when a person lives 40 years after suffering an injury in the line of duty, his death rarely has anything to do with that injury. … So obviously, we had a lot of questions.”

Edy said he thinks the city’s bankruptcy contributed to Kimbrough’s death.

“He had lost a good portion of his retiree benefits and he fell under the Medicare-Medicaid system due to his age,” he said. “One of the things that he lost was his in-home health care.”

Edy said there are only two open cases of Detroit officers who’ve been shot and killed, including Kimbrough. The other unsolved case involved the fatal shooting of Officer Ulysses Brown in 1971.

“If this case happened today, it would be solved in 48 hours,” Edy said. “If they couldn’t solve this thing 45 years ago, trying to grab ahold of this thing 45 years later is quite challenging.”

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