DETROIT (WWJ) – For the second time in a week, Detroit police are investigating a deadly shooting that was sparked by a home invasion.
The incident happened early Thursday morning in the 15000 block of Glastonbury, near Grand River Avenue and the Southfield Freeway on the city’s west side.
“What we know is that there were three of them, there was a driver and two suspects,” Sgt. Michael Woody said.
According to police, two men broke into the home through a window. The homeowner opened fire after confronting the men, who reportedly returned fire. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, who has lived in the neighborhood for eight years, said she was startled by a flurry of gunfire that was so loud, “it sounded like out of Beirut.”
Woody said the intruders broke down the home’s front door trying to escape and the getaway driver tried to flee the scene, but crashed his vehicle into a home across the street. That man was taken to Sinai Grace Hospital where he died from a gunshot wound.
“The two other suspects that actually broke into the home are still at large,” Woody said. “We have a very vague description of one of them, described as a black male, approximately 5’10” tall, very thin, wearing all dark clothing.”
A description for the third suspect was not immediately available. Woody said both suspects should be considered armed and dangerous.
Reporting live from the scene, WWJ’s Mike Campbell said the two-story home that was broken into has its front security door knocked off the hinges. From there, tire skid marks stretch across the boulevard to the other side of the street, where the front end of a Dodge Journey, the getaway vehicle, smashed through the side of another house.
Damon Bradley, whose father owns the house, said his sister was injured when the car came crashing through the wall.
“I wasn’t here but I got a call that she was injured. I’m not sure [how badly] but she’s still in the hospital,” Bradley said.
Woody said the shooting remains under investigation, but it appears the homeowner was justified in pulling the trigger.
“You’re talking about the Second Amendment. You have the right to defend your home and you have the right to defend your property and your life. Obviously, this is another one of those instances,” Woody said. “But we also want to remind folks that there has to be that threat to your life, that has to be present. Without that, this is really just another shooting.”
The shooting is the latest in an influx of homeowners using deadly force to protect their property. Last Wednesday, police say a man was killed and a woman was critically injured when they were shot while trying to break into a home on Asbury Park, near 8 Mile Road and the Southfield Freeway.
There have been as many as a half-dozen incidents of Detroit homeowners shooting suspected thieves in the past few weeks, and police have said they will support homeowners legally protecting their property with lethal force.
“We fully support our good Detroiters, good Americans that are legally in possession of weapons, defending their homes,” Sgt. Woody said last Wednesday. “We will support our citizens in that manner.”
Woody clarified that they’re “not telling everyone to run out, grab a gun, shoot first and ask questions later,” but they’re encouraging responsible Detroiters who legally own guns to exercise their right to defend themselves.
But not everyone thinks police should be in such public support of lethal force. The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality said peace should be the answer, challenging what it calls the Detroit Police Department’s irresponsible rhetoric defending vigilantism.
“We are appalled at recent statements… which separate the so-called ‘good citizens’ from the ‘bad citizens,’ suggesting individuals that shoot someone in defense of their home will have the full support of he Detroit Police Department as ‘good Americans,’” said DCAPB spokesperson Ron Scott, in a statement.
“These kinds of incendiary and slanted statements only add to the sense of fear and promotion of violence that we are now experiencing in this city. Responsible law enforcement must be tempered with, and based on, a thorough investigation of the facts surrounding any incident before statements are made like these in a community already convulsing with pain,” Scott said.