Gunman Shoots 4 Officers Inside Detroit Precinct

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) -- A gunman opened fire inside a Detroit police precinct on Sunday, wounding four officers including a commander before he was shot and killed by police, authorities said.

The gunman walked in through the precinct's revolving door around 4:20 p.m. with a pistol grip shotgun and opened fire, Sgt. Todd Eby, who was sitting at his desk in the precinct at the time of the shooting, told the Detroit Free Press. He said officers shot back at the gunman, killing him.

"Utter chaos and pandemonium took place," Police Chief Ralph Godbee said at a news conference. "We have a number of officers who are shaken up."

Godbee said the gunman has been identified but it was "too early to characterize" him while the investigation was ongoing.

The chief said along with the commander, two sergeants and an officer were wounded, but none appeared to have life threatening injuries.

The commander, who was shot in the back, appeared to be the most seriously wounded. Godbee said he underwent surgery Sunday evening and his prognosis was "very good." A sergeant and an officer who each suffered graze gunshot wounds to the head were both talking and alert, Godbee said.

A female sergeant also was treated and released after her bullet-resistant vest deflected a bullet to the chest, Godbee said.

Police also did not immediately release the names of the wounded officers, saying families had not been notified in all cases.

While the department was "very sobered" by the shootings, Godbee said he was "just very relieved that it appears all of our officers are going to be OK."

The one-story brick building is located along the main street in what is a predominantly business district on the city's northwest side. After the shooting, city and state police squad cars converged on the scene, and an ambulance was seen taking away at least one victim.

Like other precincts in the city, there are no metal detectors at the entrance and visitors are permitted to come in and talk face-to-face with police sitting behind a large, rounded desk.

"We have to take a step back and look at security at each of our facilities . . . as far as we screen our public when they come in," Godbee said.

Retired police Sgt. David Malhalab told The Associated Press that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the precincts added hand-held metal detectors at the public entrances. He worked at the 6th precinct for years and says the desks are open once you walk in the door.

"I was always very comfortable working the desk because I wanted that one-on-one feeling with the public, but I thought it was an accident waiting to happen and it did," said Malhalab, who spent 23 years on the force and retired in 2005.

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  • by Jen Location: Williamston on Jan 25, 2011 at 06:06 AM
    Just because it's starting to, it doesn't mean we need to root for it in any way. No matter what side of the political tracks you sit on, when it comes right down to it, it's only the power and will of the people that will give us a chance at bringing Michigan back around. It's been well proven that no government can bring about successful and meaningful change without the people in there, getting their hands dirty as well. Lest I forget, my heart and best wishes go out to the wounded officers and their families. Officers, you already have a tough job, and now it's made tougher by a continually lagging economy and utter desperation of the people you're supposed to protect; I respect your willingness to stay on the job. I know how terrified the families of Detroit officers are, as my girlfriend lives in fear for her husband every day, and I pray they can stay strong and can expect less tragedy in the future.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 24, 2011 at 06:21 AM
    Seems like too me that Michigan is starting to turn in to a bad movie.
  • by Jen Location: Williamston on Jan 24, 2011 at 04:45 AM
    Zach, as frustrated as I am with the situation in Detroit, I don't think we should just let the whole city die. There are still a lot of people in Detroit who are law-abiding citizens but don't have the means to get by much less get out. Are you going to take them in? I really don't think we need the Detroit real-life version of the movie "Escape from New York", thank you very much.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 24, 2011 at 02:02 AM
    I find this to be very concerning. You would never think this would happen in a police station. It seems as though people's behavior have been escalating over the past couple of years ever since the ecomony went downhill. I hope the officers will be ok.
  • by Zach Smith Location: Eaton Rapids on Jan 23, 2011 at 07:21 PM
    Shut the city down and every law abiding descent person leave. Detroit has been a cancer of michigan and should be left to die. Ebargo all food deliveries and leave the city for the lawless, hell maybe they will stay out of our peaceful law abiding neighborhoods.
  • by Michelle Location: Michigan on Jan 23, 2011 at 06:30 PM
    Thank goodness that the 4 police officers will be ok. God bless them and their families.
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