‘He was like my son’: Investigation underway after man shot, killed by Detroit police

An investigation is underway Monday into a deadly officer-involved shooting on Detroit's west side. The shooting happened early Sunday morning as officers made a mental health call when they confronted a man with a knife.

DETROIT – An investigation is underway after police officers fatally shot a man Sunday morning on Detroit’s west side.

The shooting happened as officers made a mental health call when they confronted a man with a knife. Some neighbors said officers tried their best to work with the man before using deadly force.

“To kill him,” said Darlene Embry. “He was like my son. I’m so hurt for this.”

Embry is still processing how her neighbor, 20-year-old Porter Burks, was shot and killed by Detroit police officers after family members called 911 for assistance when he had a mental episode.

“He don’t have a car,” Embry said. “He walks to the store. For them to shoot him, he had no gun. He had a knife.”

After pleading with the 20-year-old to put the knife down, officers unsuccessfully tried tasing Burks before firing multiple shots, killing him with many bystanders looking on. Several of those rounds hit Dimitrius Roberson-Bey’s bus that was parked nearby.

“It’s reckless because I got five bullet holes in my bus, and y’all shot a guy down that only had a knife,” said Roberson-Bey. “If you looking at this from where they say this happened at, to me, it looks like they were just trying to shoot at his head. For bullets to be going that high, it’s not good.”

“They gave me this sheet of paper and told me to contact homicide with a report number,” Roberson-Bey said. “I’ve been calling them people about 50 times and haven’t gotten anybody yet.”

In the meantime, family members are going through the worst, taking it all in.

“I went over there yesterday, and (his mom was) just on the wall,” Embry said. “They’re good neighbors. I’m just sad.”

The family has now acquired the services of Attorney Geoffrey Fieger.

“We are working hard to understand how and why a mentally ill citizen, whose family called for help, was tased and then reportedly shot over 30 times,” Fieger told Local 4 in a statement.

Those looking to help the family can visit their GoFundMe page right here..


About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.