Serial murder suspect was free as police informant despite violating probation, Detroit police say

Kenyel Brown served as police informant in days leading up to backyard confrontation

A massive search for Kenyel Brown ended with him shooting himself in the head, according to police.
A massive search for Kenyel Brown ended with him shooting himself in the head, according to police. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Detroit police have confirmed that serial murder suspect Kenyel Brown was free and working as a police informant in the days and weeks leading up to his arrest despite multiple probation violations.

Detroit police Chief James Craig said Brown was a confidential informant for federal law enforcement last year, and when the feds cut him loose, DPD paid Brown $150 for information about gang activity as an informant of their own.

Click here to learn more about Kenyel Brown.

While working for federal officials, Brown broke the law several times, including a DUI and positive tests for a variety of drugs, Craig said. He had violated his probation and should have been locked up, but instead, he was kept on as an informant and allowed to remain free, according to authorities.

Detroit police signed Brown up as an informant on Oct. 29, according to police. Craig said federal officials didn’t tell them that Brown had violated his probation eight times.

Sources told Local 4 that DPD could have checked Brown’s record of offenses by looking at court documents to see his criminal history.

Joe Hicks, who works with homeless people and knew Brown from the streets, said it was clear from Brown’s addictions that he should never have been free or working as a police informant.

“He was a danger to himself and the rest of society,” Hicks said.

U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider released the following statement:

"This is a horrible tragedy. We are going to do everything in our power to get to the bottom of this matter. Kenyel Brown was a law enforcement informant for a period of time, and we have been -- and currently are -- working closely with our law enforcement partners to determine exactly what happened.

“It’s also our obligation to act as transparently as we can, in a responsible manner, by obtaining the facts. The families of the victims deserve nothing less."

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