DETROIT (FOX 2) - James White said he's not angry, but focused.
The Detroit Police chief spoke a day after one of the department's officers was shot and killed in the line of duty, while responding to reports of shots fired. When police arrived at the scene, the gunman, wielding a Draco Assault Rifle, shot out his window before shooting at the police cruiser below.
Officer Loren Courts, 40, was struck by gunfire and took cover while he bled out. His partner, identified as Officer Amanda Hudgens, was next to Courts as was bleeding, putting pressure on his wound. White said she made the decision to administer lifesaving efforts to her partner, even as the suspect - who at this time had exited his home - continued to advance on her.
"I've never seen heroic acts like what I saw this morning," White said Thursday. "Never."
Referring to the attack as an ambush, he said the responding officers had "no chance" when the suspect, who FOX 2 has confirmed as Ehmani Davis, 19 of Eastpointe, fired upon them.
White said the shooter might have been attempting to commit suicide by cop when he shot at police. After striking the officer, he exited his home and advanced on police. Police units that arrived minutes later fired on the suspect, killing him.
The entire scene unfolded over approximately 10 minutes, beginning at 7:30 p.m. when officers were first called. According to a timeline from police, Courts was shot at 7:40 p.m.
"What I saw last night were heroes that were doing their job," White said. "And I'm proud to lead them. But I'm frustrated. I'm not mad. I'm focused. This is unacceptable and this should be the line."
"Whatever your tipping point is, this should be it."
Courts' death is the sixth Detroit police officer to die in the line of duty in the last five years, a reporter remarked during the press conference. It's the first under White's leadership, who took over the department in 2021.
White was flanked by several members of the Detroit Police Department during Thursday's press conference. The police chief used the opportunity to characterize the latest example of gun violence as something beyond just an issue happening in the city.
"The reality is, this is beyond Detroit's issue. This is the country's issue and its relationship with law enforcement," he said. He further remarked about the availability of firearms like assault rifles and how prolific they are in the community.
White also expressed deep sorrow for Courts' family, calling his discussion with his wife Kristine Courts "heartbreaking."
"What I dread beyond looking at faces of officers is telling once again that mother and daughter who cried out when she learned her father died," he said.
The chief declined to go into much detail about the suspect, but did acknowledge there may have been an active warrant out for him. Court records show he's had prior arrests for owning a taser and disturbing the peace.
On Wednesday night, White said Loren's family's souls were crushed by the news. "This is the worst day of their life. Dad is not coming home, husband is not coming home," he said during a late night press conference.
In a social media post made early Thursday morning, Courts' wife said she was broken. "I can't begin to imagine how we are going to live without him. My babies need him. I need him. I keep thinking I'm going to wake up from this nightmare and he's going to come home."
Courts came from a family with a long line of experience in law enforcement. His father was also a Detroit police officer who recently retired.