Chief: Suspect in officer’s slaying ‘very target specific’

Posted at 2:37 PM, Nov 21, 2019

DETROIT (AP) — A gunman who fatally shot one Detroit officer and wounded another was trying “to bait” them as they searched a home for him, police Chief James Craig said Thursday.

The 28-year-old man waited at the bottom of basement stairs, fired two shots from an assault-type rifle and ran past the fallen officers, Craig told reporters. Other officers shot the man in the arm outside the home, and he was arrested a block away.

Craig said he watched footage of the Wednesday evening encounter that was recorded by one of the officer’s body cameras.

“I could see the suspect,” he said. “As they got halfway down the staircase, the suspect came out from the left, fired quickly, striking both officers.”

“He was very target-specific,” Craig said of the gunman. “He knew what he planned to do. It’s very clear he was trying to bait the officers.”

Officer Rasheen McLain, a 16-year veteran of the department, was shot in the neck and died at a hospital. His partner, officer Phillippe Batoum-Bisse, was shot in the leg and was being treated Thursday at a hospital. Batoum-Bisse has been with the department about 2½ years.

The suspect, whose name was not released, also was hospitalized. Craig told a radio station earlier Thursday that the man was paroled this year after serving about eight years in prison on weapons charges. He told reporters later that the man was first arrested at 14 for home invasion. It was not clear Thursday when he would be charged in Wednesday’s shooting.

Craig said the man was looking for an estranged girlfriend at the west side home, which police also believe he shot at about two weeks ago.

People inside the house fled and told officers a man was inside with a gun. McLain, Batoum-Bisse and two other officers entered.

Craig and Mayor Mike Duggan praised McLain for his leadership.

“First one in the door, first one down the stairs to confront an armed suspect,” Duggan said. “His courage resulted in tragedy.”