5 arrested in 3 states in killing of Wayne County sheriff's deputy

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — A multijurisdictional investigation in which police served nine search warrants and attempted a traffic stop in three states has resulted in the arrests of five suspects in connection with last month’s fatal shooting of a Wayne County sheriff’s deputy, police officials said Friday.

Deputy Devante Jones, 23, was shot several times Sept. 20 after dropping someone off near East Forest and the Chrysler Service Drive in Detroit. Jones reportedly fled his vehicle to try to escape the hail of bullets, before someone picked him up and drove him to Detroit Receiving Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Detroit Police Chief James White discusses Friday the arrest of four suspects in connection with the shooting death of Wayne County corrections officer Devante Jones during an Oct. 8, 2021, press conference at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters.

During a Friday press conference at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters, police officials said they were working on warrant requests to submit to Wayne County prosecutors. 

Detroit Police Chief James White said he didn’t want to compromise the case by releasing details about the alleged killers’ motives or whether they knew the victim.

“Today is about bringing closure to the family so they can begin the healing process, and to let the public know that these dangerous suspects have been arrested,” White said. “We are highly confident that we have the perps responsible for the murder of Deputy Jones in custody. 

“This is a very fluid investigation, and there’s still a lot of work left to do, and the detectives will continue to compile the evidence necessary to present our case to the prosecutor’s office, and hopefully charges will be issued."

On Friday afternoon, police tried to pull over a man wanted in connection with the death in Detroit, Second Deputy Chief Rudy Harper said. The driver fled but crashed near Gratiot and Crane on the city's east side around 3:20 p.m., he said.

The man remained in custody late Friday. Two children in the car with him at the time of the crash were evaluated for possible injuries, Harper said. Their conditions and relation to the driver were not released. The suspect also is expected to face fleeing and eluding charges, Harper said. 

The nine search warrants were executed at 7 a.m. Thursday in Macomb County as well as Ohio and Georgia. Detectives arrested three people and confiscated 10 firearms, White said. A fourth man was arrested in Macomb County on Friday morning, police officials said.

One of the Macomb County suspects is wanted for a Fort Worth, Texas, murder, police said.

“You look at nine search warrants executed simultaneously across three state lines, and 10 firearms seized — you can take from that how comprehensive this is, and how dangerous these suspects were,” White said. “It was a complex, layered investigation involving Michigan State Police, Wayne County sheriff, DPD Homicide and the Detroit FBI.”

Detroit Police Cmdr. Michael McGinnis, who oversees the Homicide Section, said community tips led to the arrests.

“For weeks, detectives filtered through information from the community,” McGinnis said. “The tips they provided steered us in the right direction. (Thursday), DPD, with MSP, the FBI in Detroit and Georgia, along with authorities in Ohio, served nine search warrants simultaneously at 7 in the morning. That’s a feat I’ve never seen in my 21 years in law enforcement.”

Slain Wayne County corrections officer Devante Jones.

Jones’ shift at the Wayne County Jail Division 1 had ended six hours before he was killed, Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington said. 

“He was a father with a beautiful child, with another child on the way,” Washington said of Jones, who joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2019. “I spoke with Deputy Jones’ mother and promised her we would not stop until we got justice. I’m proud to say we’re just about there.”

ghunter@detroitnews.com

Staff Writer Mark Hicks contributed.