Man stabs himself and officer, dies after police shoot him

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — In an incident that brought into play several issues facing law enforcement, including the challenges of dealing with the mentally ill and a reported uptick in aggression toward cops, Detroit officers Tuesday shot a man as he was stabbing their colleague with a knife, Chief James Craig said.

The man, who had stabbed himself before officers arrived, died after being shot.

"This was a horrific scene," Craig said. "This was all the problems we're currently dealing with, all rolled up into one case."

The shooting was the second in two days by Detroit police officers after they'd reportedly been attacked. On Monday, Craig said a man fired at officers before leading them on a high-speed chase. Footage from an officer's body-worn camera shows the man shooting at cops a second time; they returned fire and he later died from his injuries.

Tuesday's incident was the latest in what Craig said has been a string of attacks against his officers. It was at least the sixth time since March that Detroit officers have fired at citizens after they reportedly threatened to use or deployed a weapon against officers.

Shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday, police were called to a home in the 20400 block of Hanna, near Eight Mile on Detroit's near east side.

"The officers told me when they arrived, they found that the man had stabbed himself, and his intestines were basically hanging out of his body," Craig said. "The mother told us he had a combination of drug problems and mental health issues." 

An officer with about a year on the job tried to take the knife from the man, who stabbed him in the leg several times, the chief said.

"As he was stabbing the officer, the other officers shot him," Craig said. "We're not sure if he died from the gunshot wounds or from his self-inflicted stab wounds, which were pretty bad."

Detroit police at the scene on Hanna Street near Eight Mile, where a man stabbed himself, attacked an officer with a knife and died after police shot him.

Craig said the officer who was stabbed may have been wounded in the hand by friendly fire from other officers.

"This is a tragic situation that could have been worse," he said. "We were dealing with a person in mental crisis. It was a horrific scene; he inflicted an injury to himself."

Craig said the officer was expected to recover.

"I talked to the (shooting victim's) mother, and she expressed concern about our officer," he said.

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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN