January 24, 2011 in Nation/World

Gunman wounds 4 in Detroit precinct

Assailant killed by return fire; officers expected to recover
Corey Williams Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

A Detroit police officer looks over a damaged plate glass windows that was hit inside the Precinct 6 building in northwest Detroit on Sunday.
(Full-size photo)

DETROIT – A gunman opened fire inside a Detroit police precinct on Sunday, wounding four officers including a commander before he was shot and killed by police, authorities said.

The gunman walked in through the precinct’s revolving door around 4:20 p.m. with a pistol grip shotgun and opened fire, Sgt. Todd Eby, who was sitting at his desk in the precinct at the time of the shooting, told the Detroit Free Press. He said officers shot back at the gunman, killing him.

“Utter chaos and pandemonium took place,” police Chief Ralph Godbee said at a news conference. “We have a number of officers who are shaken up.”

Godbee said the gunman has been identified but it was “too early to characterize” him while the investigation was ongoing.

The chief said along with the commander, two sergeants and an officer were wounded, but none appeared to have life-threatening injuries.

The commander, who was shot in the back, appeared to be the most seriously wounded. Godbee said he underwent surgery Sunday evening and his prognosis was “very good.” A sergeant and an officer who each suffered graze gunshot wounds to the head were both talking and alert, Godbee said.

A female sergeant also was treated and released after her bullet-resistant vest deflected a bullet to the chest, Godbee said.

Police did not immediately release the names of the wounded officers, saying families had not been notified in all cases.

While the department was “very sobered” by the shootings, Godbee said he was “just very relieved that it appears all of our officers are going to be OK.”

The one-story brick building is located along the main street in what is a predominantly business district on the city’s northwest side. After the shooting, city and state police squad cars converged on the scene, and an ambulance was seen taking away at least one victim.

Like other precincts in the city, there are no metal detectors at the entrance and visitors are permitted to come in and talk face-to-face with police sitting behind a large, rounded desk.

“We have to take a step back and look at security at each of our facilities … as far as we screen our public when they come in,” Godbee said.

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