DETROIT (WWJ) – An investigation has been launched to determine whether a Detroit police officer who shot and killed a young suspect will face charges.
Police Chief James Craig made that announcement at a news conference Wednesday, during which the name of the suspect — 19-year-old Raynard Burton — and more details about the case were released.
According to Craig, the incident unfolded after officers tried to stop Burton, who was allegedly speeding in a green Pontiac sedan when he crashed near Elmhurst and Broadstreet Ave. at around 1:45 p.m. Monday.
Craig said the shooter, a 22-year veteran of the force, then chased suspect on foot.
“The officer that was involved in the shooting, he as some point unholstered his weapon,” the chief told WWJ’s Laura Bonnell and other reporters. “And what was described to us was that the officer believed, at one point during the foot pursuit, that the suspect was grabbing his waistline, and he believed that the suspect could have possibly armed himself.”
Craig said the officer followed the suspect behind an abandoned home in the 4200-block of Webb Street. That’s where the cop fired one shot, striking the suspect in the abdomen.
“We do know there was a struggle; there was a garment removed from the subject, who was wearing a shirt at the time. We know there was a struggle,” Craig added. “In terms of what took place, the officer indicated that he did fear for his safety.”
Craig noted that, as a majority of the homes in that area of Webb are vacant, there were no witnesses. He said investigators with the Michigan State Police are going over forensic evidence to verify what took place.
Craig pointed out that both Burton and the officer who shot him are African-America.
He also wanted to clarify a few statements made after the incident occurred.
“Also reported on Monday that the officer was alone when the shot was fired. His partner was still running and joined him later,” the chief said. “And, what I’m told, the (other) officer was unaware that the shooting had taken place. So they were separated for a moment.”
Craig said Burton was involved in two carjackings prior to Monday, adding that the victim of Saturday’s car jacking had since identified Burton as the man who held him at gunpoint. Burton also had a list of offenses on his juvenile record, along with a probation violation as an adult.
The officer, who has not been named publicly, will remain on restricted duty, according to the chief, until the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Officer determined if he will face any criminal charges. The investigation is expected to be completed by Monday.