Alleged cop-killer's obsession with 16-year-old girl led to 2-week shooting rampage, police say

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — A parolee's obsession with a 16-year-old girl sparked a two-week-long shooting rampage that ended in the killing of a Detroit police officer and another man in separate incidents, according to the city's police chief.

The 28-year-old man accused of killing Detroit police officer Rasheen McClain Wednesday also is suspected in a shooting Monday on Detroit’s east side in which one person was killed and another wounded. In that case, the alleged shooter opened fire on two men as they sat inside a car on the 3200 block of Harding, Chief James Craig said.

Detroit Police Officer Rasheen McClain was killed on duty Wednesday.

According to Craig, the suspect thought the two men had a relationship with the teenage girl, described by police as his ex-girlfriend. One of the men died while the other was wounded, Craig said.

The man is also a suspect in a third shooting involving two victims that happened Sunday, although Craig said he isn't sure whether that incident is connected to the teen. Both victims in that incident are expected to survive.

Craig said he believes all the shootings could have been prevented and said Friday he has launched an internal investigation to understand why the man wasn't arrested initially at his home on Monday.

Craig said the suspect went to the girl's house on Wyoming two weeks ago, and when a relative wouldn't let him inside, he fired several shots from his car into the house. No one was hurt.

"If we had identified him in a drive-by shooting, we could have revoked his parole then," he said. "I am angry about this. I just don't have all the facts yet. It's still early, but we are connecting the dots on this case."

Detroit Police Chief James Craig shows a photograph of an "assault-type weapon" used by the suspect as he speaks to the media at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters.

Craig said a report was taken by McClain's partner from that incident, but it reportedly didn't have the suspect's full name or it wasn't spelled correctly.

"The problem is, preliminarily, it appears there was a lackluster follow-up to that report," Craig said. "I was told there was an attempt to call the victim, but she never called back, so the detective opted to send her a letter.

"That's an appropriate response with a property crime, if you can't reach the victim, but just sending a letter to the victim in a violent crime, like the man shooting the house up, is not an appropriate response."

The 28-year-old man has not been charged in either shooting death. The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said Friday it had received a warrant request from Detroit police related to McClain's slaying but returned it to the department for "further investigation."

Craig described during a press conference Wednesday what he saw when he reviewed McClain's body-worn camera:

At about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, McClain and his partner, Phillippe Batoum-Bisse, were dispatched to the Wyoming address to investigate a report of a home invasion in progress.

When they arrived, the girl’s relative told the officers her ex-boyfriend, who was paroled in March after spending eight years in prison for assault, had entered the house and was armed. McClain led his partner and two other officers into the house, Craig said.

After ensuring nobody was on the top two floors, the group of officers descended to the basement. As they got about halfway down the stairs, the suspect fired two shots from a Russian-made SKS semi-automatic carbine rifle.

Detroit police officers gather on the corners of Wyoming and Chippewa where two Detroit Police Officers were shot in an ambush-style attack Wednesday night.

One of the rounds struck McClain in the neck. He died Wednesday night in Sinai-Grace Hospital, making him the 228th Detroit police officer killed in the line of duty, according to Detroit police historian Jeffrey Lemaux.

Another shot hit Batoum-Bisse in the left ankle. He was listed in temporary serious condition as of Thursday.

Craig said the suspect, whose criminal career started at age 14 when he was convicted of home invasion, was experienced with weapons and tactics, although he said the man was not in the military.

"Given the manner in which this was carried, it's clear (the suspect) had some type of tactical training," Craig said. "It was also very clear this suspect was trying to bait the officers. He also wanted suicide by cop.

"He had a plan. He purposely left the lights on in the basement only ... because it was easier for him in the lightness to identify his targets."

Craig said after the suspect's initial arrest as a teenager, he committed "a series of violent crimes.

"It was a weapons charge and assault with intent to do great bodily harm," Craig said. "He was only given 1-10 years and served eight years. We're going to do a deeper dive into his background, but he was on active parole and (because of the shooting), he has been violated."

The Officer Collin Rose Memorial Foundation, named after the Wayne State University police officer who was killed in 2016, has started a Facebook fundraising page to help raise money for McClain's family.

Wayne State police officer Chris Powell, who started the foundation, said as of 10 a.m. Friday, more than $6,000 had been raised.