34ºF

Detroit police chief addresses deadly officer-involved shooting

Chief says man was identified as armed carjacking suspect

DETROIT – Detroit Police Chief James Craig held a news conference Wednesday to address an officer's fatal shooting of a 19-year-old following a car and foot chase on Monday. 

Police said the man was fleeing from officers at a high rate of speed Monday afternoon in a stolen green Pontiac sedan and lost control of the vehicle, hitting a utility pole. The man allegedly got out of the vehicle and ran on foot.

Original report: Suspect fatally shot by officer after foot chase, struggle on Detroit's west side

Chief Craig originally said the officer was in the process of handcuffing the man near Otsego and Webb streets when the suspect tried to grab the officer's gun. Police said the officer got into a scuffle with the man and fatally shot him. The officer was not injured. 

The chief said Wednesday that the suspect's vehicle did not hit a pole, as he previously reported, but the vehicle did hit a building and may have struck another occupied vehicle. 

Watch Craig's full news conference above.

"However, that vehicle left the scene before we could do our investigation," said Craig. "After the collision, at different times both officers engaged in a foot pursuit."

Craig said the officer feared for his own safety during a physical altercation with the suspect, and that's why he fired a single shot from his weapon. The officer thought the man was grabbing for a weapon in his waist, the chief said.

Craig said the officer's partner was not there to see the shooting. He was running to catch up. Craig also said most of the neighborhood is full of unoccupied houses, so there may not have been any witnesses. 

The Wayne County Medical Examiner identified the shooting victim as Raynard Burton. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality released a statement Tuesday demanding the officer's suspension, name, race and disciplinary record, a drug test of the officer and the release of dash-cam footage before the shooting.

"Both officers are African American, both are tenured officers," Craig said during his news conference. "The officer involved in the shooting is a 22-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department."

Craig said Burton had a criminal history including two felony assaults, misdemeanor assaults, an arrest for a stolen vehicle, a narcotics arrest and a conviction for assaulting a prison employee. Moreover, Craig said Burton was identified by an armed carjacking victim as the man who stole his vehicle.

And that's not all, the chief said:

"There was a second carjacking incident -- January of this year -- that the suspect (Burton) was involved in. He was arrested but he was not charged due to a lack of evidence," the chief said. 

The Detroit Police Department and Michigan State Police are conducting a joint investigation. Craig said the investigative work should be completed by Monday and in the hands of the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. 

Sign up for ClickOnDetroit breaking news alerts and email newsletters


About the Author: