DETROIT (WXYZ) — "He was, he was a brave police officer. He did a great job and it's a tremendous loss to the community," said retired Detroit Public Schools Assistant Police Chief Craig Schwartz about Officer Freddie Wilson.
Wilson, 61, died unexpectedly Thursday afternoon shortly after helping break up a fight near Henry Ford High School on Detroit's west side.
Wilson was walking back to his vehicle when he collapsed and later died.
Sources close to the case said at least one officer was hit while attempting to break up the altercation, but it remains unclear is whether Officer Wilson was also struck or if the altercation led to his death.
"It's difficult to say without the input from the medical examiner who's going to determine the exact cause and manner of death," Schwartz said. "But the proximity of it being so close to him having been involved in a violent altercation would certainly lead one to believe that there's a significant chance that that may be the case."
Through a district spokesperson, Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti said Officer Wilson devoted more than 20 years to the district and that their thoughts and prayers go out to the Wilson family. Dr. Vitti's office also issued the following:
Officer Wilson passed away late Thursday evening, March 10, 2022. We are actively investigating the incident and request that everyone wait to pass judgement regarding the incident and his cause of death until an investigation is complete. It already appears as if misinformation is being reported.
But no one from the district has explained what the "misinformation" is that they referred to in the statement.
In February 2018, Officer Wilson was off-duty when he was shot near his home by a man who barricaded himself inside a house.
Wilson's wife, Patricia, and two other relatives, including a niece, were also killed that day by the same gunman, the niece's ex-boyfriend.
Wilson had gone down the street to check on his wife and the others when he was shot in the leg. He managed to call 911. The gunman was then involved in a standoff with Detroit Police that ended with the man taking his own life.
Officer Wilson's autopsy has been completed and the results are still pending.