'Today is a tragic day.' Detroit police mourn loss of 16-year veteran killed in the line of duty

1 officer remains in temporary serious condition
Posted at 11:43 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2020-02-11 12:11:01-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — In a somber press briefing Wednesday evening, Detroit Police Chief James Craig announced the passing of a 16-year veteran of the department.

The officer, who belonged to the city's 12th Precinct, was killed while responding to a home invasion in the area of Wyoming and Pembroke near Chippewwa on Detroit's west side.

The name of the officer has not yet been released, but Craig said that he was a beloved longtime member of the force. Roughly 275 local officers came out to show support to the Detroit Police Department following the fatal shooting.

"They're family," Craig said of the officers who came out to mourn the veteran officer's death. "They knew that he had made the ultimate sacrifice."

Craig added that breaking the news to the officer's family is one of the most difficult tasks he must do as chief.

"One of the most difficult things that I have to do in this role is not only console the officers that have to go out tonight and continue to protect and serve this great city, but to also tell the spouse of this officer that he didn't make it," he said. "(It's) very difficult."

The officer's family has been notified, Craig said during the press briefing.

The shooting happened around 7:20 p.m. Wednesday. Officers arrived at a home where a suspect was inside with a high-powered rifle, Craig said. As four officers went inside to apprehend the suspect, they were shot at. Two officers were hit – one three-year veteran was shot in the left leg while the 16-year veteran was struck in the neck.

Craig said the high-powered weapon caused the bullet to become lodged in the 16-year veteran's skull. That officer later died from his injuries at Sinai-Grace Hospital.

"Certainly, our heart and prayers go out to his family... our community and all of the officers in the Detroit Police Department," Craig said. "He really is a hero. He fought a good fight."

Mayor Mike Duggan joined Chief Craig during the press briefing to offer his condolences to the department and the slain officer's family.

"Detroit police have got to be as courageous as any people in this country," Duggan said, adding that the city has lost a hero.

Craig said an officer was able to return fire toward the suspect, striking him. The suspect is now in temporary serious condition.

Watch the emotional press conference below.