Detroit Free Press
A man is dead and a Detroit police officer is wounded after police say the man chased them with a sword, threw a dagger and went into a police patrol vehicle.
The police involved-shooting took place about 7:15 p.m. Thursday in the area of Meyers Road and Grand River Avenue on Detroit’s west side, Chief James Craig said at the scene.
Preliminary information showed the officers were driving eastbound on Grand River Avenue headed to another call when, while approaching Meyers Road, they saw a man in the intersection swinging a nearly 32-inch sword, Craig said.
“As soon as our officers exited their marked police vehicle, the suspect began to run in their direction swinging the sword,” Craig said. “They asked him several times to drop the weapon. He refused.”
He continued to advance, and an officer deployed a Taser, Craig said. The man was wearing some sort of protective layer, however, and the Taser didn’t work.
At some point, the man took out a nearly 8-inch dagger from his pants and threw it, striking an officer below his right eye, Craig said.
Officers continued to tell the man to drop the weapon and an officer fired a bullet, Craig said.
The man was struck, but still continued to advance, Craig said.
He then started going into the driver’s side of the patrol vehicle while holding the sword, Craig said.
A passerby, concerned the man would gain access to police weaponry, then used his vehicle to block the man in, Craig said.
It wasn’t immediately clear what happened next, Craig said, but officers took lifesaving measures.
The man, believed to be in his late 20s, was taken to a hospital and succumbed to his injuries, Craig said. He was found to have a third knife as well.
The injured officer suffered a nearly half-inch laceration and was taken to a local hospital, Craig said.
“I give a lot of credit to both the officers for showing extreme patience, hoping that the Taser would have an effect; it did not,” he said.
Craig said preliminary information showed another officer may have tried to use a Taser as well, following the dagger throw. He also said the man chased police with the sword at one point.
Craig credited the passerby, who he said was a Good Samaritan trying to assist.
Craig called the incident tragic, recalling this as the fourth shooting involving police in recent weeks. It is the third fatal shooting.
Craig has defended the officers involved in the incidents, saying they’ve have been in danger.
Police have pointed to video from the first fatal police shooting, on July 10, which appeared to show a 20-year-old named Hakim Littleton firing a shot at a police officer’s head.
In the one on July 23, police have said the man killed had pointed a gun directly at an officer.
Chris White, director of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, issued a statement Thursday evening calling for an independent agency to investigate the shootings.
He expressed concern for what he says is a “shoot to kill policy,” and the potential for more incidents that will hurt the city.
“It doesn’t take an expert in weaponry to know a dart doesn’t compare to a bullet,” he said. “We understand the city is violent due to decades of disinvestment and erosion of access to public goods. However, we strongly feel that the department is using this violence as a rationale to shoot to kill.”
Craig spoke of possible motives for the man’s actions Thursday ranging from anti-police rhetoric to possibly mental illness, based on the man’s actions prior to police interaction.
“Clearly, our officers are facing very aggressive suspects who are armed,” he said.
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