Detroit, MI – Detroit Police Officer Donald O. Kimbrough, 71, died on Thursday, Dec. 7, after being shot in 1972.
Officer Kimbrough and his partner were both in plain clothes on August 25, 1972, and in the area of a methadone clinic when they were told that two men were shooting at people in the parking lot at the intersection of Belmont Street and Woodward Avenue, according to Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP).
Both officers responded to investigate the two suspicious men, and confronted one of the armed suspects walking from an alley to a car that had just pulled into an adjacent parking lot.
The first suspect complied with the officers’ commands, but a second suspect sitting in the vehicle’s driver’s seat opened fire with a handgun, striking Officer Kimbrough in the chest. The first suspect then picked up a shotgun and fired at Officer Kimbrough’s partner.
Both officers returned fire as the suspects fled in the car.
Officer Kimbrough was shot in his shoulder and in his chest during the gunfight and was transported to Henry Ford Hospital, where it was determined that one bullet had lodged against his spine. He was paralyzed from the waist down, and confined to a wheelchair.
He was able to return to limited duty until being medically retired in 1977. Officer Kimbrough’s health continued to deteriorate, and he died of complications of the original gunshot wound on December 7th, 2017.
The two suspects involved in Officer Kimbrough’s murder were never identified and the case remains open.
Officer Kimbrough was a U.S. Air Force veteran and had served with the Detroit Police Department for a total of seven years before medically retiring. He was assigned to the 13th Precinct, and is survived by his son.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Detroit Police Officer Kimbrough, both blood and blue. Godspeed, sir, we will take the watch from here. Thank you for your service.
Officer Donald Kimbrough, your life mattered.