DETROIT — A Detroit policeman’s condition has “deteriorated somewhat” after he was shot in the head in a fatal gunfight with a suspect Sunday night, a doctor with Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn said at a news conference today.
The officer, a 14-year veteran, was shot in the back of the head while responding to a domestic-violence call at about 10:45 p.m. at the Oakman Apartments on the 10000 block of Joy Road, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said in the news conference broadcast on Facebook Live. After one surgery that may have left the officer with brain swelling, the doctor said another surgery may be needed.
“The injuries themselves were obviously very devastating,” said Dr. James Wagner, a trauma surgeon at Beaumont. “We’re obviously going to do everything we can to save this gentleman’s life.”
The suspect, a man aged 41-45 and armed with a nickel-plated, .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol, was shot multiple times whenthe officers returned fire. He died at the scene.
Craig said this is the eighth incident since last September in which an officer was either shot or murdered in the line of duty. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who also was at the news conference, said police have shown “outstanding professionalism” in each of these incidents.
In this case, the officer and his partner were responding to a call, where there was no indication of weapons involved, and knocked on a locked door that was the main entrance to an apartment building. The suspect, who was not involved with the domestic-violence call, could be seen on surveillance video chambering a round and approaching the door, Craig said.
“He opened the door with the gun extended,” he said. “The officer struck was the first one who encountered the suspect.”
An exchange of gunfire occurred, and the man and the officer fell to the ground simultaneously before the officer’s partner, who had cover, “fired a number of rounds immobilizing the suspect,” Craig said. The partner, who is six months out of the police academy, then pulled the injured officer to safety.
EMS had already been called for the suspected domestic violence incident, in which assault and battery was alleged, so the officer soon received treatment.
“This is once again a sobering reminder of the dangers that our officers face each and every day,” Craig said, adding that in this case, the officers’ approach “was textbook.”
He said the surveillance video showed the suspect leaving his unit with a gait that was “somewhat unsteady.” He said both officers were in uniform and arrived in a marked patrol car. When the suspect’s unit was searched, police also found a .45 caliber pistol and a shotgun.
Duggan said that while officers in other big cities have been criticized, Detroit officers act professionally and appropriately.
“We are the model for community policing in this country,” Craig said.
The person calling in the domestic-violence report had said they would leave the door propped open, but it wasn’t.
The front door and siding of the Oakman Apartment building’s entrance this morning are marked with bullet holes. The front door handle is wrapped in gauze, and the mud by the sidewalk is mixed with blood.
John Ploch, 59, who’s lived in the building about a year, was home when the gunshots went off.
“Somebody emptied a magazine out here and it sounded like somebody emptied a magazine back,” he said. “I must have heard 15, 16, 17 shots. I got down on the floor in the bedroom.”
He’s lived at the building about a year and said “there’s a lot of shooting around here.”
He said he hopes the injured officer is OK.
Louis Anderson, 59, has lived in the building about five years and said he was passed twice by flashing police cars on the way home Sunday night before he arrived to see police surrounding the building.
“I never thought nothing would happen over here,” he said, adding that he’s only noticed problems with alcohol and fighting. “Nothing like this.”
Ploch’s front window had been broken out. He said he was vandalized less than two weeks ago.
“Somebody tried to break in,” he said. “Luckily, I have my door secured to where nobody could do that. Apparently, they got frustrated and busted up the windows.”
He gestured toward the nearby parking lot to a van with nearly all its windows broken out and covered in plastic.
“They busted up the windows in that white van at that time,” Ploch said, adding that a crowbar or something similar was used and the police were investigating.
Contact Robert Allen on Twitter @rallenMI or email@example.com.
___ (c)2017 the Detroit Free Press Visit the Detroit Free Press at www.freep.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
SOURCE AND CREDITS FOR THIS POST : DETROIT FREE PRESS