DEARBORN, Mich. – Newly released footage shows the moment when an armed man was fatally shot by a Dearborn police officer after he walked into the police station with a handgun drawn and attempted to shoot.
On Dec. 18, 2022, 33-year-old Ali Naji entered the Dearborn police station holding a firearm, and attempted to shoot at an officer in the lobby. His gun malfunctioned, and during that time, the police officer behind the front desk fatally shot the armed man.
The shooting caused controversy in the community, and the family of the armed man filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Dearborn police. The incident was investigated by Dearborn police, in addition to a separate investigation carried out by Michigan State Police.
Now, nearly three months after the shooting, Dearborn police are releasing footage of the incident and more details about what happened.
Video of the shooting
In an attempt to be transparent, Dearborn police are releasing security camera footage from the lobby of the police station, where the Dec. 18, 2022, shooting occurred.
In the video, Naji can be seen walking into the station with a handgun drawn and pointed at an officer behind the glass at a desk in the lobby. Officials said that glass is bullet resistant, but not bulletproof.
The armed man did attempt to fire at the officer, but his gun malfunctioned, police said. While the man was attempting to resolve the malfunction, the officer behind the desk moved the glass and fired 17 rounds at the armed man.
You can watch the surveillance footage in the video below.
Details of the shooting
In addition to releasing footage from the shooting, Dearborn police also provided Thursday more details about what occurred that day.
According to Dearborn police Chief Issa Shahin, the 33-year-old shooter -- who hasn’t been named -- used a stolen gun in his attempt to fire shots at the Dearborn police station.
At about 3:33 p.m. on Dec. 18, 2022, the man visited his former workplace, a salon, on Warren Avenue. There, the man went behind the register, took a 9 mm handgun and placed it in his pants, and left the building.
Within 10 minutes of leaving the salon, the man arrived at the Dearborn police station. He parked a large black SUV directly in front of the lobby in a no-parking zone, officials said.
The armed man walked into the lobby, and the officer behind the front desk acknowledged him and asked how he was doing. The man then immediately raised the 9 mm handgun and pulled the trigger, attempting to shoot the officer, police said.
The officer behind the desk can be heard yelling “gun” several times to alert others at the station.
The gun malfunctioned after the man pulled the trigger, and he attempted to resolve the malfunction by removing the magazine, placing it back in the gun and attempting to rack the gun’s slide. While the man attempted to fix the firearm, the officer slid the glass out of the way and fired shots at the armed man.
A total of 17 bullets were fired by the officer in a span of 4.5 seconds, officials said. It is currently unknown how many of those bullets struck the man.
The man can be seen dropping to the ground. He did not fire any rounds from the 9 mm handgun.
Police said that officers inside cleared the scene and approached the man so he could receive medical attention. An ambulance arrived within seven minutes of the shooting and took the man to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
It does not appear any other civilians were inside the police station lobby at the time of the shooting, but Chief Shahin said the building was busy that day with people and families stopping in, especially due to a toy drive taking place in the lobby during the holiday season.
You can watch the Dearborn Police Department’s complete March 16 update on the shooting in the video below.
Police Chief Shahin said that following the two investigations of the shooting, it has been determined that the police officer who shot the armed man was acting within his training and guidelines for handling lethal threats.
“... the officer has a duty to protect the public, and his fellow officers, when faced with an active gunman,” Shahin said.
Naji’s family hired attorneys to help better understand what happened to the man. They were mostly curious about whether there was an opportunity for Dearborn police to de-escalate this situation.
But Shahin says the officer handled the situation appropriately. Still, he labeled the incident as a tragedy for the “entire community.”
“My sincere condolences go out to the family, who will forever be altered by the day’s events,” Shahin said. “This was a tragedy for our entire community -- including one of our officers, who faced down an imminent threat to his life.”
“... I hope we will work together as a society to prevent this from happening again,” Shahin added.
Neither of the police investigations were able to uncover a motive for Naji’s attempted shooting. Shahin said the man had two prior contacts with Dearborn police, but that there were both not criminal in nature.
Reports show that Naji struggled with mental health. An attorney who oversaw a 2016 criminal arson case involving Naji told Local 4: “He lit a little strip mall on fire thinking that he wanted to keep people warm in the winter time. No one was injured, thank God.”
Shahin said the man’s family was allowed to review the footage before it was released to the public on Thursday.