Woman in mental health crisis shot, killed by Detroit police

Detroit police shot and killed a woman experiencing a mental health crisis who was accused of assaulting her toddler at a west side home Thursday night.

Police were called around 6:20 p.m. to the 15700 block of Myers Road by someone known to the woman, who told officers the woman was schizophrenic and had assaulted her child, as well as the caller.

Detroit Police Chief James White spoke at the scene Thursday night in a live stream posted on the department’s Facebook page, saying the woman had barricaded herself inside the home. Her child was found with a head injury that was bleeding, White said.

White said police surrounded the house and declared the scene a barricaded gunman after the woman allegedly answered the door after about 45 minutes, revealing a gun and saying she wasn’t leaving the house.

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A crisis intervention officer went to the scene and tried to negotiate with the woman, according to White. Eventually, police were able to enter the home, where the woman was shot and killed by police.

“There’s a fight going on and shots are being fired,” White said Thursday night.

White said his department has been downloading body camera footage and is investigating how many shots were fired, whether the woman fired any shots and, if so, who fired first.

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Police planned to hold a press conference at 11 a.m. Friday.

White emphasized that the initial information was preliminary.

“We want to be transparent with the community,” he said.

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The killing comes just over a month after Detroit police shot and killed 20-year-old Porter Burks, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Burks’ brother called the police, informing them that Burks was experiencing a mental health crisis and was wandering around the city’s west side near their home with a 3.5-inch knife.

Burks was shot 19 times by five officers, who fired 38 rounds in three seconds. Burks’ mother has filed a $50 million wrongful-death lawsuit. Community members questioned police crisis intervention training and demanded the names of the officers who shot and killed Burks. White said his department will release the names once the investigation is complete.

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According to police data, mental health calls have increased since 2021. Police received 18,106 mental health calls in 2021. As of Nov. 6, police had received 20,007 mental health calls in 2022, according to the data. The largest number of calls are about drug overdoses, the data show, followed by calls from mentally ill and violent, but unarmed subjects, then armed and violent.

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