Detroit officer killed, another wounded after suspect opens fire with high-powered rifle

The police chief said that investigators believe the gunman was angry and looking for a girlfriend when the home invasion occurred.

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By Phil Helsel

A Detroit police officer was killed and another was injured Wednesday night after a gunman opened fire with a high-powered rifle as they responded to a home invasion, the police chief said.

The gunman was also shot and was wounded.

"Today is a tragic day for the Detroit police family," Detroit Police Chief James Craig said.

The slain officer was shot in the neck, Craig said. He was a 17-year-veteran of the police force, the department tweeted. Craig had previously said the officer had been on the force for 18 years.

Another officer who has been on the force for three years was shot once in the leg and in temporary serious condition but conscious and able to move around, Craig said. The mayor tweeted that the officer is expected to recover.

The officers have not been publicly identified.

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The violence erupted after four officers entered the home about 7:20 p.m. to clear it after "frantic" occupants told them someone who was armed was inside, Craig said.

"As they began to go downstairs, the suspect who was armed with a high-powered rifle began to open fire on the officers," the chief said. The type of weapon the suspect used was also not disclosed.

Detroit Police officers gather on the corner of Wyoming and Chippewa streets where one officer was fatally shot and another was wounded while responding to a home invasion on Detroit's West Side on Nov. 20, 2019.Clarence Tabb Jr. / Detroit News via AP

Craig said that because the slain officer was shot with "a high-powered rifle, the round traversed up through the rear of his skull, where the bullet was lodged."

An officer was able to return fire and wounded the suspect, who fled but was taken into custody and transported to a hospital, where he was in serious condition, Craig said.

Police don't believe there are any more suspects, and Craig said that it appears the shooting stemmed from a domestic situation.

"Preliminarily, I can say that he was looking for his girlfriend, he was angry," Craig said.

Craig said that he informed the officer's spouse that the officer did not survive his injuries. He called the officer a hero.

"Solid police officer," Craig said. "Certainly the information I've gotten from his partners — he was loved."

The suspect has a "fairly lengthy criminal history," including weapons charges and he was recently released from parole, the police chief said.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan hailed the bravery of the police and said “the whole city is with the family of the deceased officer” as well as the officer who was wounded and being treated at a hospital.

“Detroit police have got to be as courageous as any people in this country,” Duggan said. “Four officers go into a house with an armed and dangerous gunman in order to protect our citizens.”