Detroit chief: Slain officer was `ambushed’ by man, 19

Jul 7, 2022, 1:04 PM | Updated: 1:49 pm

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit police officer fatally shot Wednesday as he responded to reports of a man firing a weapon was “ambushed” as he arrived at the scene by a 19-year-old man armed with a semiautomatic pistol, the city’s police chief said Thursday.

Detroit police Chief James White identified the slain officer as Officer Loren Courts, 40, who was married with children and whose father is a recently retired Detroit police officer.

“We have lost a hero in this department. One of Detroit’s finest. We are devastated but we are not defeated,” White said Thursday at a news conference.

The 19-year-old suspect was fatally shot by another officer as Courts’ partner, Officer Amanda Hudgens, was rendering medical aid to Courts, White said. The chief did not release the suspect’s name at Thursday’s news conference.

Courts, who was later pronounced dead at a hospital, was shot as he and Hudgens, both five-year Detroit police veterans, responded about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to a report that a man was firing shots out the window of his apartment with a Draco semiautomatic pistol, White said.

“They approached the building using their training and tactics, and they were ambushed,” he said. “The first officers to arrive were ambushed by this man.”

White said Courts was shot in the neck as he was still seated in a squad car after the suspect apparently shot out a window in his apartment above a barbershop and began firing, The Detroit News reported.

The gunman then walked from the building and toward the two officers’ squad car as Hudgens was applying pressure to Courts’ neck wound, forcing her to decide whether to continue aiding Courts or respond to the approaching assailant, White said.

“She made a choice that many people in the same circumstances would say they would make. He’s advancing toward her with the Draco. She glances back, braces herself, and continues applying pressure,” White said. “Thankfully, there was another officer who stopped the threat.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that Courts “made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.”

“Officer Courts was a second-generation Detroit police officer. He followed in his father’s footsteps and was a hero to all those who knew him, especially his wife and kids,” she said in a statement.

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Detroit chief: Slain officer was `ambushed’ by man, 19