police

An apparently panicked resident shot and wounded two relatively inexperienced Detroit police officers Sunday night in what may have been a case of poor communication and abject fear.

Two Detroit police officers who went to a home to investigate a burglary call late Sunday were wounded in a shooting when they approached the location, the city police chief said.

A 19-year-old man inside the home fired a shotgun because he might have feared for the “safety of his family,” Police Chief James Craig told reporters early Monday.

The man and his family had called 911 at least three times on Sunday before the shooting. The incident took place about 11:45 p.m. on Detroit’s west side.

One officer remains in critical condition at a local hospital after a bullet struck him in the face, Craig said.

The other officer suffered a shrapnel wound to his left arm and will be released from the hospital Monday, he said.

The officers approached the home and attempted to make contact with residents by knocking on the front door. The 19-year-old, clearly afraid and unaware of the identities of the men on the front porch, discharged a single shotgun blast through a window near the front porch and hit both officers.

A police tactical team was then sent in and was able to take the 19-year-old shooter, a 14-year-old, and their mother into custody without further incident.

No burglars were arrested at the scene. They presumably left before police arrived.

No charges have yet been filed in the incident, though both misdemeanor and felony charges could presumably be pursued against the shooter.

I’d be willing to bet that the 19-year-old had zero firearms training, didn’t have any sort of a plan, and simply acted out of irrational terror. It’s quite possible he was suffering from the well-documented phenomena of auditory exclusion (which in one study of police officers, affected roughly 80% of all officers during or after a shooting) and did not hear the officers announce themselves.

If he had any training and an understanding of the law, however, he would know you simply can’t shoot someone for merely standing on your porch and knocking on your door. Dearborn Heights resident Theodore Wafer was convicted on all counts in 2014 for killing an intoxicated Renisha McBride in a similar incident.

It is going to be very interesting to see how prosecutors decide to move forward with this incident. They have the discretion to bring charges against the 19-year-old man who fired the shot that struck both officers and has one in critical condition.

We hope both officers are able to make a full and speedy recovery.