Detroit police chief: Man 'aggressively' tried to kill officers in shooting Wednesday night

Officers in stable condition, chief says

DETROIT – Detroit Police Chief James Craig said a man accused of shooting two of his officers Wednesday night was "aggressively trying to kill" them. 

The 60-year-old man was taken into custody after a 2-and-1/2-hour manhunt Wednesday night. Chief Craig said the man was very violent when he fired at the officers near Ash and Tillman. 

"He was aggressively trying to kill our officers," Craig said during a Thursday morning news conference. 

The chief said his officers from the 3rd Precinct were investigating a significant increase in non-fatal shootings in the area when the man shot at them. Craig said the man was unprovoked when he fired several rounds at the officers. A motive is unclear, he said. Officers had approached him to ask questions about the reported crimes.

"We know that the suspect armed himself, fired several shots striking both officers, unprovoked," he said.

The chief said when the man finally was taken into custody near Michigan Avenue and Vinewood Streets he was still trying to attack his officers. 

Watch Craig's full Thursday morning news conference here: 

"In a second attempt, he tried to attack these (arresting) officers," Craig said. "He was prepared to engage a second set of officers."

Both officers are in stable condition at Detroit Receiving Hospital. One of them, a 44-year-old veteran of the force, was shot in the neck. He has several surgeries scheduled Thursday. The other officer, 27 years old, was shot in his ankle, which he underwent surgery on Thursday morning. The 27-year-old officer also was shot twice in his chest but his body armor saved him.

The man accused of shooting them suffered injuries from the officers' return fire. He is hospitalized and is expected to survive his injuries. 

Chief Craig made it clear this man is not considered a suspect in Wayne State University police Sgt. Collin Rose's murder as he railed against reports Thursday morning that there was a confession made.

Chief: Man suspected of shooting 2 Detroit officers did not confess to killing Sgt. Collin Rose

"There was no confession made," Craig said. "I am not saying this suspect is the same suspect in the Collin Rose murder."

The man used a .38 caliber handgun in the attack Wednesday, the chief said. The gun was recovered by officers. He does not have a history of violence, just property crimes, according to Detroit police. 

A family member said the man suffers from schizophrenia. Chief Craig said he cannot comment on what the man's mental illness history may or may not be. 

UPDATE: Detroit police chief: Officers in stable condition after being shot

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About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.