Detroit, MI – Detroit Public Schools Community District Police Department (DPSCD) Officer Freddie Wilson died in the line of duty on March 10 after trying to break up a fight near Henry Ford High School, according to police.
The fight broke out in the area of Trojan Street and Vaughan Avenue at approximately 3:30 p.m., WXYZ reported.
A large group of students was engaged in a physical altercation when Officer Wilson jumped in and broke them up, according to MLive.
Sources said at least one officer who intervened in the brawl was struck, but it was unclear whether or not Officer Wilson was the one who was hit or what injuries he might have suffered, WXYZ reported.
At least one witness said Officer Wilson was hit in the head, according to WXYZ.
The 61-year-old officer was walking back to his patrol car after the incident when he suddenly collapsed.
He was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition and died several hours later, MLive reported.
His exact cause of death has not been released.
“It’s difficult to say without the input from the medical examiner who’s going to determine the exact cause and manner of death,” DPSCD Assistant Chief Craig Schwartz told WXYZ. “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.”
Crime scene investigators seized a large log into evidence, according to WJBK.
It is unclear whether or not the log was used as a weapon.
“It was at least probably three-and-a-half to four feet long – probably about five inches or four inches diameter,” a neighbor told WJBK. “It was a pretty heavy piece of wood.”
The investigation into Officer Wilson’s death remains ongoing, according to the Detroit Police Department.
Officer Wilson served the DPSCD for more than 20 years, DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said in a statement.
“The DPSCD School Board and Superintendent are saddened by the sudden death of Officer Freddie Wilson,” Vitti said. “Our thoughts and prayers go to the Wilson family.”
Officer Wilson’s wife, niece, and another of his family members were fatally shot by his niece’s ex-boyfriend in February of 2018, WXYZ reported.
He was off-duty and was heading over to their location when the same gunman shot him in the leg.
Officer Wilson was able to call 911 and ultimately survived the attack.
The gunman fatally shot himself during the ensuing standoff with police, WXYZ reported.
Karen Morgan, a former DPSCD Board of Education employee and longtime friend of Officer Wilson, described him as a quiet, kind man, WJBK reported.
“He was a great colleague,” Morgan recalled. “Every time I saw him at…functions or on the job, he would always give me a hug and give me that smile.”
“Those officers need to be commended on what they come up against, every single day,” she added. “In school they are there to protect the students of DPSCD, they are there to serve the students and staff of DPSCD, and I think they do an honorable job doing it.”
In memory of Officer Freddie Wilson, Detroit, MI Public Schools Community District Police Department. pic.twitter.com/vis67vSce7
— Romeoville Police (@Romeoville_PD) March 14, 2022
Deepest condolences to The Wilson Family as we mourn the passing of our own DPSCD Officer, Freddie Wilson❤️🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/4a41IYThTW
— Angelique Peterson-Mayberry (@MsNyckii) March 11, 2022
Our condolences are with the @Detroitk12 Police Department and the family and friends of Police Officer Freddie Wilson who died after collapsing at the scene of a large fight near Henry Ford High School. He had served with the department for 20+ years. #LODD #EOW pic.twitter.com/WKVVQhpqrX
— ATF HQ (@ATFHQ) March 14, 2022
🔹 Blessed Are The Peacemakers 🔹
Police Officer Freddie Wilson
Detroit Public Schools Community District Police Department, Michigan
— National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) March 11, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Detroit Public Schools Community District Police Department Officer Freddie Wilson, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.