Livonia police officer has encounter with man wanted for murder in Milwaukee

Suspect told police he had planned on killing officer
Posted at 6:22 PM, Mar 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-21 18:41:47-04

LIVONIA, Mich. (WXYZ) — A Livonia police officer came face-to-face with a Milwaukee murder suspect on the run.

It happened on March 12. Investigators say the officer saw two people in a hotel parking lot. They say the officer had been patrolling the area because it's had some issues with crime.

"The woman exits the vehicle right away and goes to the front," said Capt. Ron Taig with the Livonia police. "The driver seemed nervous."

The officer had no idea the man behind the wheel was Dariaz Higgins. Police say just the day before, Higgins had shot two women. One of those women, Sierra Robinson, died. She was the mother of their 2-year-old daughter, Noelani.

After the shooting, investigators say he took off with Noelani and that led to an Amber Alert.

Body-cam video obtained by Action News shows the encounter between the Livonia officer and Higgins. When the officer asks for identification, police say Higgins can be seen driving off.

Police tried to catch up with him, but they weren't able to. A short time later they got a call that a sawed-off rifle was found on the side of the road a few miles away.

Investigators believe it belonged to Higgins.

The next day, an off-duty Livonia officer saw Milwaukee police were looking for Higgins and realized it matched the description of the guy who took off from that hotel parking lot. Higgins was ultimately arrested in Milwaukee.

Soon after that, Livonia police say they found out that Higgins confessed that he planned on killing their officer.

"The hair on my neck stood up," said Capt. Taig. "They said during the interview the suspect said he was going to shoot our police officer as he approached him, but decided not to and fled instead."

Days later, investigators learned that Noelani was dead. Her body had been found wrapped up in a blanket in a ditch in Minnesota.

Livonia police say they're saddened by the loss of life and grateful their officer wasn't hurt or even killed.

"You never know as a police officer what you're going to run into," Taig said. "We need to appreciate these officers for what they do; every day could be their last."

Higgins has been charged with murder in connection to the death of Sierra Robinson. The woman he was with during the encounter in Livonia has been charged with aiding a felon.

According to the criminal complaint, she knew about the murder and said she "messed up" by not telling someone.