A 14-hour standoff with a barricaded gunman ended Monday with three women dead, three police officers injured and the gunman dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The 49-year-old suspect's death was discovered via a video surveillance robot that Michigan State Police — who relieved Detroit police of their duties several hours into the active scene — sent into a second-floor window of the home on the 19000 block of Lamont Street.
Two women were shot outside the house. When police finally made entry, they discovered that a female hostage — believed to be the man's girlfriend — had also been killed.
The injured police officers — two Detroit Police officers, and one officer from Detroit Public Schools Community District — were all shot in the leg, Detroit Police Deputy Chief Elvin Barren told told reporters Monday afternoon. Their injuries were not life-threatening.
The chaos began to unfold at 10:27 p.m. Sunday, when an off-duty DPSCD police officer who lives in the neighborhood called police about shots fired at the address.
The DPSCD officer was shot first before officers from the Detroit Police Department arrived on scene, Barren said.
At one point, officers were "pinned down" by gunfire, officials said.
"SRT, our SWAT team, were able to rescue three members who were pinned down, using our armored vehicle to get them to a safe location," Barren said. "Another part of the response was officers. Once (an officer's) partner went down, he was able to grab his partner and pull him, again with that injury to his leg, pull him out of harm's way."
Barren said the school officer was married to one of the women who were shot outside The women were 62 and 71, Detroit Police Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood said.
At least one woman is believed to have been related to the gunman's girlfriend.
"We do know (the incident) stems from a domestic incident involving the suspect and his loved one," Barren said. "And from there, it appears family members did respond, in a matter of supporting or protecting the loved one, and unfortunately they became victims as well."
The school officer was released from the hospital Monday. The Detroit officers were expected to be released by Tuesday, at the latest.
During the standoff, Detroit police deployed multiple rounds of chemical agents into the house an attempt to coax the suspect out. Michigan State Police used flash-bang grenades. Gas service was cut to the home after the gunman started fires inside it.
At one point, the gunman was heard saying he "wouldn't go down without a fight."
"He clearly expressed an intention to do harm; he clearly expressed intention to hurt police officers," Police Chief James Craig said.
The last time officers communicated with the suspect was around 2 a.m.
Michigan State Police sent three camera-equipped robots into the home later Monday.
"The third robot was able to go into the top window and that's when we discovered the individual was deceased," First Lt. Michael Shaw, a spokesman for the agency, told reporters.
The suspect had no criminal history and had no previous contact with police. He was a valid CPL holder and had at least seven guns registered to him.
Family and friends of the suspect have said he suffered from mental illness. Craig, however, said that information had not been confirmed.
At one point, police thought there were two shooters. However, police discarded the theory after arresting a neighbor who they believed to be the second shooter.
What started the shooting is unclear, according to Craig. Initial reports indicated that it began over a fight between the suspect and one of the female victims.
The shooting comes just over a week after the Detroit Police Department mourned the loss of Officer Glenn Doss Jr., who was shot by a barricaded gunman while responding to a domestic violence call on Jan. 24.
The suspect, in that case, Decharlos O. Brooks, has been charged with eight counts of assault with intent to murder, seven counts of resisting and obstructing, one count of carrying a dangerous weapon and 17 counts of felony firearm, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Officer.
At the time, Craig blamed Doss' slaying on police work being dangerous but also society’s failure to treat many of those with mental illness.
“When are we going to realize? We need to do more,” Craig said at a press conference following that shooting.
In recent years, Craig continued, “the number of these barricaded suspects has roughly doubled ... and more often than not, these individuals are mentally ill — the jail is not the place to treat them.”
“This is not a Detroit thing," he said. "This is national. When will it end?”