Man shot by Detroit police after pointing gun at them, chief says

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A man was shot by Detroit police after allegedly aiming a gun at them Tuesday night on the city's southwest side, Chief James White said.

Officers were patrolling near Annabelle and Downing around 9:30 p.m. following rising gang violence in the area when they spotted the man identified as a gang member with a gun, White told reporters.

When the officers tried to stop him, he ran off, fleeing behind a house and jumping a fence, the chief said.

The officers followed and as they climbed over the fence, the man turned toward them and pulled out a gun, White said. 

One of the officers, fearing for their lives, opened fire three times, striking the man, White said. "The officers' actions were brave and heroic." 

All three shots hit the man, whom the officers tried to help before emergency personnel arrived.

The man, believed to be in his 20s, was rushed to a hospital and listed in critical condition, White said.

A weapon was recovered at the scene.

The officer who fired the shot is on administrative leave as a task force that includes Michigan State Police investigates the incident, White said. Their findings will be sent to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office to determine any charges.

A Detroit Police Department internal probe also is expected to examine whether its policies were followed, the chief said. "Officers don’t want to use deadly force, but certainly when you encounter someone pointing a weapon at you, that has to happen." 

White noted such incidents "weigh heavily" on his team. He noted Tuesday's incident came less than a month after another Detroit officer, Loren Courts, was fatally shot when he and his partner were ambushed while responding to a 911 call about gunfire.

"We want to make sure that we keep our community safe and do everything we can as a law enforcement department to support keeping the community safe," White said. "And they did just that."