1 Detroit officer killed, 4 wounded in shooting

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DETROIT — A 25-year-old suspect in a shooting that killed a Detroit police officer and wounded four others early Monday had a past drug conviction and a history of assaults involving police, authorities said.

Police said Officer Brian Huff, 42, was killed when he and four other officers responded to a report of gunshots at a vacant duplex where a neighbor said drugs were sold.

It was the first time in five years that a Detroit police officer was killed in the line of duty, Police Chief Warren Evans said. Two of the four surviving officers were treated and released, the two still hospitalized were expected to recover, and another officer suffered a sprained ankle, Evans said.

The 25-year-old suspect, whose name wasn’t released pending formal charges, was arrested after fleeing the house, police said. He was shot once in the lower back and was being treated at a hospital, police said.

Evans said the suspect had past convictions for fleeing police and attempting to disarm a police officer. The man was sentenced to three years of probation in December 2007 for attempting to disarm a police officer and cocaine possession. He didn’t show up in April 2008 for a probation appointment and a warrant for his arrest was issued. Evans said the man was last arrested in November for carrying a concealed weapon, but was released on bond.

“This guy’s entire background is assaultive,” Evans told reporters Monday.

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 she 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, Evans said. He said officers at the front of the house were met with heavy gunfire. Huff was shot inside the home and struck two or three times, Evans said.

“It’s a tough time for all of us,” said Evans. “We’re all kind of in a state of shock.”

Huff had been on the job for 12 years and had a 10-year-old son. Evans and Mayor Dave Bing visited the slain officer’s widow at St. John’s Hospital in Detroit.

“It was the worst feeling I’ve had since I’ve been in this position,” Bing said.

Officer Randy Randolph, 33, said he previously worked in the same district as Huff, whom he described as a “big Teddy bear.”

“Although he was a big guy — he was aggressive on the street — he had a good heart. He was a lovable guy,” Randolph said. “Everybody liked him. … When he was out there on the street, you knew he was going to back you up.”

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 Writers David Aguilar and Corey Williams contributed to this report.