'A tragic day': 1 officer killed, another wounded on Detroit's west side
Detroit — A Detroit police officer was killed and another wounded after a gunman opened fire as they responded to a home invasion on Detroit’s west side Wednesday night, police Chief James Craig said.
Rasheen McClain, whom Craig described as an 18-year veteran on the force, was killed by a “single gunshot wound to his neck” by a high-powered rifle, Craig said in a news conference outside Sinai-Grace Hospital.
A second officer, a three-year veteran, was shot in the leg, he said.
“Today is a tragic day for the Detroit police family,” said Craig, who was joined by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan at the news conference.
The incident occurred at about 7:30 p.m. near Wyoming and Chippewa.
Officers from the 12th Precinct had been called to a house on a report of a home invasion in progress, Craig said. When they arrived, the officers found the resident running out, frantic, saying a man inside was armed with a rifle.
After requesting backup, the officers went inside with two more officers to clear the home, the chief said. They cleared the upper level, but as the officers went downstairs, the suspect opened fire, striking the officers, according to Craig.
One of the officers returned fire and struck the suspect, who fled the scene and escaped a short distance but was arrested soon after, Craig said.
The wounded officer was hospitalized in temporary serious condition. His name was not released.
As news spread about the veteran officer who died, hundreds of his colleagues gathered at the hospital in a show of support. Craig said it was a greater outpouring than he had ever seen.
“He really is a hero,” Craig said of the officer, who was named by police on Thursday. “He fought a good fight.”
The chief noted that he had spoken with the officer's spouse. "Very difficult," he said.
In a statement released late Wednesday, which said the officer was a 17-year veteran, the Police Department said he "served the residents of our city with dedication and valor. This American hero will be truly missed and forever remembered. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
The incident underscored the dangers police face daily, Duggan said. “Detroit police have got to be as courageous as any people in this country.”
The suspect was hospitalized in temporary serious condition, Craig said.
The man had a “fairly lengthy” criminal history, including weapons charges, and recently had been released from parole, Craig said.
Investigators said the man believed that he was at the home of a woman with whom he had a romantic relationship.
"He was angry, not certain if that was her residence," Craig said. "That’s what we know right now in terms of why he was there and why he was acting in a threatening manner."