21-Year-Old Killed Amid Tense Police Brutality Protest in Detroit, Shooter Unknown

What started as a peaceful protest became increasingly tense as police and protestors clashed.

This article has been updated with new information provided by the Detroit Police Department, correcting the age of the victim and circumstances of the shooting.

A 21-year-old male from East Pointe was fatally shot within a block of an anti-police brutality protest in downtown Detroit late Friday night, according to Detroit Police.

Meta Stange/WDET
Meta Stange/WDET

Nearly 1,500 demonstrators gathered in front of the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in the afternoon for what started as a mostly peaceful, organized protest against police brutality.

Protests are happening nationwide following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck during an arrest, and Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman who was fatally shot by Louisville, Ky., police when entering her home to serve a “no-knock” warrant.

By nightfall, the demonstration devolved into a back-and-forth between protestors and Detroit police, with officers firing tear gas at protestors to make them retreat and demonstrators hurtling glass bottles at the cops in return.

Detroit Police say a passenger in a grey Dodge SUV fired gunshots into the large crowd, striking and fatally wounding an unnamed 19-year-old near Congress and Randolph Streets, within a block of the anti-police brutality protest around 11:30 PM.

Updated details: Police say the 21-year-old male was a driver of a silver Dodge Durango in the area of Congress and Randolph, which was approached by an unknown male suspect around 11:30 PM. The suspect fired shots into the vehicle and the victim and two other male passengers fled the vehicle. The suspect fled by foot.

The victim died at a nearby hospital. It is unclear when he sustained the injury. It is unclear if the shooting was related to the protest or a separate incident.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said his officers made more than 40 arrests — 30 of which were individuals not from Detroit — during the protest, which had mostly dispersed by 2 AM

Last night’s shooting is still under investigation and police ask those with information to call Detroit Police Homicide at 313-596-1290 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SpeakUp.

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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.
  • Meta Stange
    Meta Stange is the Digital Content and Engagement Manager for 101.9 WDET, overseeing the station's digital editorial content. She enjoys reading, making bad jokes, and hanging out with her dog, Salmon.