A 16-year veteran of the force was fatally shot yesterday by a suspect who “clearly” had some type of training and was trying to bait officers, said Detroit Police Chief James Craig.
Craig said Officer Rasheen McClain was shot while responding to a home invasion. The suspect was hiding in the basement and as McClain and another officer, Phillippe Batoum-Bisse, descended the stairs, he shot at them. McClain was fatally shot in the neck and Batoum-Bisse was shot in the ankle.
The same suspect had shot up the home he invaded Wednesday night just two weeks before, Craig said. He said the man entered the home wanting to talk to an estranged girlfriend. She was not at the home in either instance.
When the officers arrived on scene Wednesday night they saw four people running out of the home, saying the suspect was inside with a rifle. McClain then called for backup. Once two more officers arrived, McClain decided to enter the home, which was pitch-black, Fox 2 Detroit reported.
They cleared the second and main floor without finding the suspect. They noticed the basement lights had been left on and made their way down the stairs when the suspect fired two shots.
"[McClain was the] first one in the door, first one down the stairs to confront an armed suspect. His courage resulted in tragedy," said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
"It was very clear this suspect was trying to bait the officers," Craig said. He said he believes the suspect sought suicide by cop, based on his actions.
Once the suspect came up the stairs and left the house, gun in hand, the retreating two officers fired at the suspect, hitting him in the arm. The suspect dropped the gun and ran, getting about a block away before he was caught and detained.
Craig said the suspect, 28 years old, was just recently paroled after spending eight years in prison. He was first arrested at the age of 14 for another home invasion. His name has not yet been released.
McClain leaves a wife of 10 years and two stepchildren.
"We've had far too many of these and each one gets every more painful. I'm always struck by the fact that we seem to lose the best of our officers in these tragedies," Mayor Duggan said.
Craig said yesterday McClain was "loved," and 275 officers had come out to show their support that night. "Unfortunately I've been to a number of these, but this is probably the one where I've seen this number of officers come out and support."