Assault suspect shot by Detroit police dies

George Hunter
The Detroit News

An argument among longtime drinking buddies, one of whom allegedly brandished a knife and gun, ended with a 43-year-old man being fatally shot Wednesday by two Detroit cops who responded to a call about the skirmish, police said.

Detroit police Chief James Craig said the two officers' body-worn cameras show the suspect appeared to be reaching for a gun, ignoring orders to stop making the gesture.

The incident began in a house in the 14900 block of Tireman on Detroit's west side, when friends who often drank together got into an argument, Craig said Thursday.

Officers investigate after teenager shot on Detroit's east side.

Officers were called to the house about 8:11 p.m. Wednesday to investigate a report of a felonious assault of a 26-year-old and 55-year-old, police said.

"The suspect was an acquaintance of the resident," Craig said during a press conference at police headquarters. "They drink together often, and he was under the influence."

There was an argument, and the suspect left the house and came back multiple times, Craig said.

"It was the third time when he actually threatened the residents," Craig said, adding the man wielded a knife. "Neighbors indicated he also brandished a firearm."

When officers arrived, the man was not in the house, Craig said. "They spent about 20-30 minutes conducting a preliminary investigation. They're walking back to their scout car; just about the time they were ready to enter the car they were informed the (suspect had returned).

"They saw the suspect," Craig said. "On his right side, he had a holstered weapon. As I viewed the video, you can see his body begin to move. The officers gave commands 'don't move.' The body began to turn; he was grabbing for his weapon, removing it from the holster."

Both officers — one of whom graduated from the police academy only a few weeks ago — fired several rounds into the suspect's chest, Craig said.

"The suspect hit the ground ... a nickel-plated semiautomatic weapon was found a few feet from where he fell," Craig said. "The officers quickly began to administer first aid. A secondary unit arrived, and without hesitation place him in the back of the squad car and too him to a hospital."

The man died about 11:30 p.m., Craig said.

"My prayers to the family," the chief said. "Any time we have to use deadly force, it's always a tragedy."

Craig said neighbors corroborated the officers' account. 

The suspect had no criminal record, Craig said.

Per department policy, both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation.
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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN