“But he continued forward.
“As he was chasing the officers, he went into the driver’s side (of a squad car),” Craig said.
“When he jumped into the scout car, the concern that the good Samaritan had, knowing police officers had shotguns and rifles in the front seat of the car … that he may have been attempting to gain control of the weapons.”The motorist he used his vehicle to block the suspect in the squad car, and officers subdued the man who was transported to an area hospital and pronounced dead.
“I commend (the motorist),” the chief said. “It was a very risky situation, but he saw our officers were in danger and wanted to assist.”
Andre Johnson said he intervened with his car to help the officers.
“The victim went after the officers” Johnson said. “Officers asked him about three or four times to put the weapons down. They Tazed him, but that didn’t stop him, and then he pulled out this knife they make in Nepal and he ran after the officers.”
Craig said he suspected the suspect had mental issues. “From the description of his behavior, wildly swinging a sword in the middle of traffic, it makes me wonder if he wasn’t suffering from mental illness,” he said… No shit I say.
Isys Love, who lives in the area where the shooting took place, said she knew the man from the neighborhood. He was always dressed like a ninja and walked along Grand River Avenue, she said as she watched from the scene late Thursday.
“We always see him dressed in his ninja outfit with his swords, but he doesn’t bother anyone … that’s why we are wondering what set him off.”
The incident marks the third police-related fatality in Detroit since July 10, and the fourth officer-involved shooting. In two of the fatalities, video shows suspects pointing pistols at officers.
| In the other shootings: On July 10, video released by police shows Hakim Littleton shooting his gun at a Detroit cop feet away from his head, before officers returned fire, killing him.
On July 27, police released video showing a high-speed vehicle chase four days earlier that ended with a car crashing into a tree. Three men fled the car, one of whom is seen brandishing a pistol. Police fatally shot him.
A man allegedly was selling drugs in a west-side gas station lot on July 26, when an officer saw a partially concealed pistol on him, Craig said. Following a foot pursuit, Craig said the man pulled out the gun, and, when he did not comply with the officer’s command to drop it, the officer shot him, wounding him.
Craig said the shootings are a result of suspects becoming more brazen recently.
He said he’s hearing more reports about aggressive behavior toward officers than at any time since he became chief in 2013.
“Clearly, our officers are facing very aggressive suspects who are armed,” he said. “It could be any number of reasons. It could be the anti-police rhetoric that’s permeating our country. Frankly, these suspects feel emboldened.”
Chris White, director of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, said in a statement he wanted an outside entity to investigate the recent use-of-force incidents.
“An independent agency should handle the investigation of these shootings,” he said. “We’re very concerned about what has become a shoot-to-kill policy.”
White also criticized Thursday’s shooting.
“While some may see the department (as) having improved, we see this as a setback,” he said. “It doesn’t take an expert in weaponry to know a dart doesn’t compare to a bullet.”