Detroit, MI – A heroic Detroit police officer placed her own life at risk by choosing to render aid to her wounded partner even as she saw the gunman who shot him coming towards her.
“She made a choice that many people in the same circumstance would say they would make, but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen anyone do it,” Detroit Police Department (DPD) Chief James White said on Thursday, according to WXYZ.
“She made a decision to put her life – not on the line, I think she just prepared to die,” Chief White continued. “She braced herself to be shot in the back of the head or the back while she administered first aid [to her partner].”
The incident began at approximately 7:30 p.m. on July 6, when the DPD’s 2nd Precinct received a 911 call regarding a suspect “who was firing shots indiscriminately” in the area of Marlowe Street and Joy Road, Chief White previously told reporters, according to WDIV.
DPD Officer Loren Courts, 40, and Officer Amanda Hudgens, 34, were in one of the two scout cars that arrived at the scene at 7:39 p.m., WDIV reported.
Police said Officer Courts drove along Joy Road past the location that had been reported, turned onto Marlowe Street, and turned back around to stage their patrol car at the intersection.
The two officers were still inside their patrol car when gunfire suddenly blew out the upstairs window of a nearby building, WDIV reported.
“They approached the building, using their training and their tactics, and they were ambushed,” Chief White told reporters on Thursday. “The first officers arriving were ambushed by this gunman.”
Officer Courts was hit in the neck, WXYZ reported.
“They had no chance,” Chief White said, according to WDIV. “They had backup. They used their training and their tactics, and the murderer shot the window out of his apartment and immediately shot the officer while he was in the car.”
Meanwhile, the officers in the second scout car had positioned their vehicle and gotten out on foot to help provide cover.
Two additional patrol vehicles arrived a moment later, WDIV reported.
“Officer Courts, struck, attempted to gain cover, but he was already hit in a major artery,” Chief White said. “He was dying. He collapses down on the ground. His partner, Officer Hudgens, began to administer first aid. Other officers on the scene tried to give them cover.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of @detroitpolice Police Officer Loren Courts who was shot and killed in the line of duty. May God grant him eternal rest. #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/Fgz4msxPL3
— NYPD Chaplains Unit (@NYPDchaplains) July 8, 2022
The chief said Officer Hudgens continued trying to save Officer Courts, even after she saw the gunman walking out of the building carrying a 7.62 semiautomatic Draco pistol and coming in her direction, WXYZ reported.
Officer Hudgens had to choose between trying to save Officer Courts and protecting herself.
“This brazen murderer, after shooting the officer, walks out of the building and proceeds toward the officers’ vehicle,” Chief White said, according to WDIV. “Officer Hudgens has to make a decision. She wants to keep direct pressure – her training – applied to our officer’s wounds, so that he has a chance to live. Behind her is the murderer, who is walking toward her with his assault rifle.”
“She makes the decision to give her partner a chance to live, keeping her back to the assailant,” the chief said. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”
Chief White said Officer Hudgens is “beyond hero,” WDIV reported.
Other officers at the scene fatally shot the suspect as he walked down the stairs and out into the street at 7:41 p.m. – just two minutes after Officer Courts and Officer Hudgens first arrived at the scene.
“It is my belief that he wanted to commit suicide by cop,” Chief White said on Thursday. “The fact that he murdered a police officer, and then casually walked out of the front door and advanced on other police officers as they were rendering aid to the officer he had just murdered — he wanted to die.”
The gunman was later identified as 19-year-old Ehmani Mack Davis, WDIV reported.
Officer Courts was rushed to Sinai-Grace Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.
The married father-of-two was also the son of a retired DPD officer, WDIV reported.
We mourn the senseless loss of one of our own today. Ofc. Loren Courts, who served with the department for five years, was shot and killed Wednesday. He served at our 2nd precinct and was also a beloved son, father, and husband. pic.twitter.com/9wNxwl7pSU
— Detroit Police News (@detroitpolice) July 7, 2022
“He served with dignity and integrity for five years,” Chief White confirmed. “Candidly, we were robbed. We were robbed of one of our heroes. The city was robbed of a great father, a great police officer, a great brother, a great son, and a great husband.”
Officer Courts leaves behind his wife, Kristine, his nine-year-old daughter, and his 15-year-old son, WDIV reported.
He is also survived by his parents and four siblings, WDIV reported.
🙏 Today, DPD officers and our community continue to reel.
We are devastated, but resolute in our mission to protect our community.
— Detroit Police News (@detroitpolice) July 7, 2022
Kristine Courts said she rushed to the hospital after she was notified about the shooting, but that her husband had already succumbed to his wounds when she arrived, WDIV reported.
The couple had been together for 16 years.
“He’s a great dad – he called my daughter sugar foot,” Kristine Courts told WDIV. “And my son was his best buddy. He was a good husband.”
She said Officer Courts was working a voluntary double shift at the time of his murder.
Please keep the family of Officer Loren Courts in your thoughts & prayers, as he was shot and killed yesterday. With record numbers of officers shot in this country, we ask that you remember this: we are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and community members. This has to stop! pic.twitter.com/sxTBWPlMae
— National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) July 7, 2022
“He was very, very loyal to DPD,” Kristine Courts told WDIV. “It was his passion. He tried so hard to get in and he finally did; he loved it. He loved being a police officer. But he also loved being a dad. He would tell you that was his greatest accomplishment was being a dad.”
A fundraising page established to help Officer Courts’ family in the wake of their loss has raised more than $27,000 so far.
Chief White said prosecutors may have been reviewing a request for a warrant for Davis a separate incident when he ambushed police on Wednesday, WDIV reported.
The earlier incident allegedly involved an assault with intent to commit murder offense.
“He wasn’t on our radar from the standpoint of we’re looking for him,” the chief said. “He had – and again, this is unconfirmed, I want to be clear – what we’re looking into right now is at least someone was submitting a warrant on him.”
Davis was arrested in Eastpointe on Jan. 4 for improperly possessing a firearm in a vehicle and was sentenced to one year of probation as a result, WDIV reported.
He was arrested again in Eastpointe on June 9 – this time on three weapons charges connected with a drive-by shooting, according to the news outlet.
The status of that case is unclear.
Chief White said police cannot end gun violence by themselves and called on lawmakers to follow through with their promises to act, WXYZ reported.
“We need help, it’s not just us,” he said. “We need the courts, we need the lawmakers to step up. It’s getting a little bit old hearing about what everyone’s going to do.”
The chief said Davis purchased the gun used in the attack just weeks before Officer Courts’ murder, WXYZ reported.
“These assault weapons are ridiculous in our communities and they’re causing death, period,” he said.