Man who mistook Detroit police for intruders cries as he apologizes during sentencing

DETROIT - A 20-year-old man who fired a gun and injured two Detroit police officers responding to a burglary call tearfully said he was “so sorry” during his sentencing today.

“I just hope that the officers are OK,” said Juwan Plummer as he spoke at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit.

He called the situation “terrible” and said he hopes the officers and their families understand that violence in the neighborhoods and the situations that happen in their home caused the "terrible accident" to happen.

"I would never want to take a hardworking man's life," he said standing next to his attorney Victoria Burton-Harris.

In April, police were called to his mother's home in the 20500 block of Lesure Street, near 8 Mile and Schaefer. Plummer, who was at the home with his family, apparently mistook police responding to a call for home intruders.

Wayne County Visiting Circuit Judge Michael Hathaway sentenced Plummer under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which permits people between the ages of 17 and 20 to avoid a criminal record if they successfully complete all conditions given to them.

Hathaway ordered Plummer to serve two years on probation and spend 90 days in the Wayne County Jail, despite opposition from prosecutors, who argued the sentence didn't appropriately address Plummer’s accountability.

Hathaway also ordered Plummer to complete a gun safety class and warned if he violated the terms of his probation he risked having his Holmes Youthful Trainee status revoked and could spend at least two years in prison.

Plummer of Oak Park pleaded guilty to multiple charges earlier this month, including intentional discharge of a firearm in a building causing serious impairment, intentional discharge of a firearm in a building causing injury, and two counts of felony firearm. Several other counts were dismissed.

Hathaway called the case tragic. He said one or both of the officers could have died as a result of Plummer’s actions that night in April, but said he thinks everybody understands that Plummer was not acting maliciously and had no intention of injuring a police officer,

“We have a case where there is just no good outcome,” Hathaway said. “There’s no ideal outcome.”

Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Sarah DeYoung said prosecutors opposed to the court's sentence and felt it made the officers accountable for Plummer’s reckless actions.

“This kind of treatment sends a message to the law enforcement that we don’t value what they’re doing,” she said.

Police have said Plummer, who had no prior criminal record, feared for the safety of his family and fired a single shot inside his home that injured two officers outside the home.

Prosecutors said during an earlier court hearing that Plummer didn't look out the window before firing.

One of the officers was hit in the face and neck, had his jaw wired shut and has injuries that will permanently affect him, officials said. The other officer suffered an injury to his arm.

Neither were in court today, but the prosecution said the officers, both with the department under two years when it happened, volunteered for the run that night and got out of the car to investigate.

“They were doing everything that we would hope the officers of the city of Detroit would do,” DeYoung said. 

© 2017, Detroit Free Press


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