- Associated Press - Monday, January 24, 2011

DETROIT (AP) — A relative of the gunman who was fatally shot after wounding four officers at a Detroit police station was scheduled to be sentenced Monday in a double-homicide case, the city’s police chief said.

Chief Ralph Godbee identified the shooter as 38-year-old Lamar D. Moore of Detroit but said he couldn’t speculate about a motive in Sunday’s shooting at the police department’s 6th Precinct.

“There’s nothing in this that makes sense at all,” Chief Godbee told reporters.

During a briefing on the case, Chief Godbee didn’t release specifics of the homicide case involving Mr. Moore’s relative. He said the relative had been scheduled for sentencing Monday.

The police station shooting happened around 4:20 p.m. Sunday. The gunman walked through the front door of the one-story building and began firing, according to police.

Chief Godbee said he has reviewed video of the shooting and seen the officers’ “acts of heroism.”

“In a split second their life changed,” Chief Godbee said. “The perpetrator’s intent was evil, but these men and women … performed to the standard that they were trained to.”

Rev. Jerome Warfield, chair of the Detroit Police Board of Commissioners, visited the precinct with other members of the board after leaving the hospital where the wounded officers are being treated. He said officers at the precinct “are still somewhat shocked that this happened.”

The shooting leaves officers to ponder how to protect themselves from the crime they fight daily on the city’s tough streets. The precinct commander, two sergeants and an officer suffered wounds that were not considered life-threatening.

Unlike a number of suburban police departments, Detroit precincts don’t have metal detectors, and the front desks are not fitted with Plexiglas-type shields. They do have security cameras.

“As you can imagine, utter chaos and pandemonium took place, but through it all, our officers maintained courageous calm,” Chief Godbee said earlier. “They returned fire. They took cover. They did all the things that we train them to do under pressure.”

One officer who was hit was a female sergeant whose bullet-resistant vest deflected the shot to her chest, Chief Godbee said. Another officer suffered a grazing wound to the head, as did a male sergeant. The precinct commander was shot in the back but was able to return fire.

Chief Godbee would not give details on how many times the gunman was struck. 

“We’re very sobered by the event but very relieved that it appears all of our officers are going to be OK,” Chief Godbee said. “We have to take a step back and reassess security at each one of our facilities. It’s more than likely that we will be changing a number of things relative to standard operating procedures as to how we screen our public before they come in.”

The department wants to continue its “community policing” format at the precincts, Chief Godbee added. “But by the same token, incidents like this … remind us just how vulnerable we all are, especially in the public sector.”

The names of the wounded officers were not released Sunday night because all of their families had not been notified.

The precinct, built in the mid-1980s, sits between a business district, a residential area and a row of manufacturing buildings.

Retired police Sgt. David Malhalab told the Associated Press that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks the precincts added hand-held metal detectors at the public entrances. He worked at the 6th Precinct for years and said the desks are open once you walk in the door.

“I was always very comfortable working the desk because I wanted that one-on-one feeling with the public, but I thought it was an accident waiting to happen, and it did,” said Mr. Malhalab, who spent 23 years on the force and retired in 2005.

Several officers leaving the precinct Sunday night declined to comment about the shooting.

Associated Press writer David Runk and photographer Carlos Osorio contributed to this report.


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