DETROIT — Police responding to a report of gunshots at a vacant duplex in Detroit where a neighbor said drugs were sold were met with heavy gunfire early Monday, authorities said. One officer was killed and four others were wounded, police said.
It was the first time in five years that a Detroit police officer has been killed in the line of duty, Police Chief Warren Evans said. Two of the four surviving officers were treated and released and the two still hospitalized were expected to recover, police said.
The suspect, a man in his mid-20s, was arrested after fleeing the home, said Evans. He was shot once in the lower back and was being treated at a local hospital, police spokesman John Roach said.
Evans said officers responded to the two-story building about 3:30 a.m. after a next-door neighbor reported hearing shots.
Shelia Brown, 47, said she was awakened by two to three gunshots early Monday, followed by eight to nine more. Brown said has been offered drugs by people while walking past the house.
"They ask you if you want to buy weed," said Brown, adding that she has previously called police, but "they come out but the guys are gone by then."
The officers who responded to the call Monday positioned themselves at the front and rear entrances of the building, Roach said. He said officers at the front of the house were met with heavy gunfire.
The officer who was killed, who had been on the job at least 12 years and had a 10-year-old son, was shot inside the home and struck multiple times, Roach said.
"It's a tough time for all of us," said Evans. "We're all kind of in a state of shock."
Evans and Mayor Dave Bing visited the slain officer's widow at St. John's Hospital in Detroit, where officers exchanged hugs early Monday morning with some of the dozens of people who had gathered outside an emergency room entrance awaiting word on the injured.
"It was the worst feeling I've had since I've been in this position," Bing said. "Our community needs to stand up."
Outside the hospital, Officer Randy Randolph, 33, said he previously worked in the same district as the slain officer, whom he described as a "big teddy bear." Randolph, a 13-year veteran now in traffic enforcement, said when he was working on the street, he would know that the officer had his back.
"He had a great heart. A lovable guy. Everybody loved him," Randolph said.
Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh, whose brother is a police officer, said it was a difficult day for the city.
"My heart goes out to them, to this whole team of officers, but certainly to the family — the wife and child — of that Detroit police officer who lost his life."
Police said a .45-caliber handgun and 1 pound of marijuana were recovered at the house, which is located on a block of mostly well-kept bungalows and two-story duplexes. Several neighbors describe the block as quiet during the day, but say gunshots are commonly heard in the surrounding area.
Aisha Crenshaw said since beginning her job two weeks ago as a crossing guard at a nearby intersection, she has seen a black car with tinted windows parked in the driveway of the house every day. She said she once saw a man leave the house and get into the vehicle.
Associated Press Writer David Aguilar contributed to this report.