Detroit cop in probe shot himself outside parents’ home

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Sterling Heights — A Detroit police officer, who, according to two police sources, was being investigated by the FBI and Detroit Internal Affairs for narcotics corruption, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Thursday morning.

Detective James Napier, 35, of the 12th Precinct, shot himself at about 8:45 a.m., the sources said, while sitting in a car outside his parents’ home in the 34000 block of Maple Lane near 15 Mile in Sterling Heights. Two sources familiar with an investigation into corruption in the former Narcotics Section said he was one of the officers being investigated.

Sterling Heights Police Lt. David Smith said Thursday the incident is “still under investigation, but it appears to be a suicide.”

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Thursday he could not comment about the probe but said the death was “tragic.”

Craig said he met with Napier’s parents Thursday, and planned to meet with his wife and officers in the 12th Precinct and the 9th, where he worked previously.

“Our prayers go out to not only his family, but his DPD family as well,” Craig said. “It’s always tragic when one of our members makes the choice to take his own life.”

Napier was a 14-year veteran of the force and was recently promoted to detective.

At the Board of Police Commissioners meeting Thursday afternoon, attendees had a moment of silence for Napier. New commissioner the Rev. Edgar Vann said, “I don't care what the circumstances were, it's appropriate to have a moment of silence.”

Craig disbanded the Narcotics Section in July because of what he said were systemic problems uncovered during an Internal Affairs investigation that began in May, including how drugs and evidence were handled.

An internal probe is ongoing, as is a separate FBI investigation into alleged criminal behavior by some officers in the narcotics unit, Craig said.

FBI Special Agent David Porter said Thursday he couldn’t confirm whether Napier was under federal investigation.

In November, a lieutenant and a police officer assigned to the drug unit were suspended for alleged criminal wrongdoing.

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