Detroit, MI – Three police officers have been shot and two women are dead in a standoff that began last night in Detroit.
Police believe the gunman may have a hostage inside the home in which he is still barricaded.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig held a press conference late Monday morning to clarify what was going on at the home on Lamont Street.
He said the situation began shortly before 10:30 p.m. on Sunday night when a Detroit Public Schools (DPS) police officer got a call from a neighbor about a situation taking place at that house.
The officer had family members living in that home, and went to check out the situation.
The suspect opened fire on the DPS officer when he arrived at the house. He was shot in the leg.
Detroit Police Department (DPD) officers arrived on the scene and were pinned down in front of the house for more than an hour with the DPS officer and the victims, the chief said.
Two DPD officers were shot while they were all pinned down.
“All three were shot in the leg,” Chief Craig said. He said none of the wounds were life threatening, and one of the officers had already been released.
Chief Craig said the Special Response Team (SRT) brought in an armored vehicle to facilitate getting the pinned-down officers and victims out.
Both women were fatally shot and died at the scene. They were sisters.
One of the murdered women was the wife of the DPS officer, and the hostage still being held is his niece, WDIV reported
Initially, police believed they had a bizarre, double-barricade situation involving two houses, next door to each other, with two gunmen. But that turned out not to be the case.
Police took one of the suspected gunmen into custody early Monday morning, and discovered he had nothing to do with the situation.
“There is no second suspect … He’s going to be released. He was not involved in this incident at all,” Chief Craig told reporters.
Police said they attempted to communicate with the gunman throughout the night. The last time they talked to him was around 2 a.m., when police released their third volley of gas at the house in an attempt to bring the gunman out.
“After we deployed the gas he just closed the door, and that was our last contact with him,” Chief Craig said.
Police saw several fires inside the home and thought he was trying to burn the house down, but then realized the home was without heat and he was likely just burning things to keep warm, the chief said.
Earlier Monday morning, Detroit Assistant Police Chief Arnold Williams told reporters that the gunman was believed to be suffering from mental illness.
“The suspect is suffering from mental illness, per individuals who know him. The suspect has made statements that he will not go down without a fight,” Chief Williams said. “We are trying to negotiate and talk the suspect out for surrender.”
However, Chief Craig said that police had checked records and could find no documentation supporting mental illness.
Chief Williams told WDIV the gunman was dating the niece of one of the victims.
She is missing and her family believes afraid she is currently barricaded inside one of the homes with the gunman, according to WDIV.
Chief Williams said the suspect had no prior criminal history, was a concealed pistol license holder, and had at least seven guns registered to him.
Chief Craig said that Michigan State Police (MSP) had taken control of the inner perimeter, and nearby schools were placed in lockdown as the situation continued on Monday morning.
“He clearly expressed an intention to do harm … to hurt police officers,” he said.
Chief Craig said that they were using “technology” to determine what’s going on inside the house. He said they’re using a combination of robots from DPD and the state police because the “Michigan State Police has different equipment that can go up to higher elevations inside a residence.
UPDATE: The gunman fatally shot himself and the suspected hostage is dead.
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