Chief: 'Friendly fire' likely what killed Detroit officer

A Detroit police officer who was shot in April and died of his injuries Saturday may have been killed accidentally by another officer

By Ann Zaniewski
Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — A Detroit police officer who was shot in April and died of his injuries Saturday was likely struck by friendly fire, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a news conference Monday.

Craig, who also criticized the slow pace of the investigation of the shooting which occurred as officers tried to arrest a homicide suspect, has ordered a review of department procedures.

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Officer Patrick Hill was struck in the head April 2 near Linwood and Hooker as officers exchanged gunfire with 23-year-old Matthew Joseph. Joseph was fatally injured at the scene.

Craig said that based on an investigation, it appeared the shrapnel or a pellet that struck Hill came from another Detroit police officer's shotgun. It's believed the shot from the gun deflected off a vehicle and struck Hill, he said.

The Detroit Police Officers Association could not immediately be reached for comment.

Before Hill was shot, Joseph fired a gun that struck a sergeant at the scene in the leg. It was believed at the time that Hill also was struck by Joseph.

Craig, who assumed the chief's job after the incident, said there was "lack of urgency and complacency" in the initial investigations. Craig also said the tactics weren't consistent with Detroit Police Department training.

Assistant Police Chief Eric Jones said the matter was turned over to prosecutors in July. But, he said, "based on our evidence, there was no malicious intent" by the officer who struck Hill.

Hill died just after 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Henry Ford Hospital. He had been in a coma since the shooting, Jones said.

Visitation for Hill, a 12-year veteran with four children, is 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, with a family hour 4-6 p.m. at the James Cole funeral home at 16100 Schaefer in Detroit.

A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Greater Grace Temple at West 7 Mile Road and Telegraph in Detroit.

Copyright 2013 the Detroit Free Press

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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