A 33-year-old walked into a Detroit-area police station armed with a handgun in late December and attempted to open fire. Owing to performance issues and the swiftness of a nearby officer, he was unable to follow through with a possible Christmastime massacre.
Amid claims by Ali Naji’s family that the dead gunman was a victim of unlawful deadly force, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Thursday that the officer who put him down will not face criminal charges.
The Dearborn Police Department has provided footage contextualizing the officer’s vindication.
What are the details?
TheBlaze previously reported that around 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 18, a masked gunman entered the lobby of the Dearborn Police Department, just a few miles west of Detroit. The lobby had seen a great deal of civilian traffic that day as people were bringing in presents for Toys for Tots.
An officer asked the gunman, “How are you doing?”
Ali Naji, 33, evidently had no time for pleasantries. He took a look around, pulled a concealed handgun from his waist, and attempted to fire on the uniformed officer behind the front desk.
One officer can be heard in the newly released footage of the incident yelling, “Gun, gun, gun, gun!”
According to officials, Naji had stolen the gun just prior to the incident from a barbershop where he previously worked.
Although Naji appears in the security footage to have pulled the trigger, there was no muzzle flash. The gun had jammed. The gun belonging to the quick-thinking officer at the front desk had no such problem.
As Naji fiddled with the handgun, removing and reinserting the magazine, the targeted officer drew his service weapon.
Dearborn Police Chief Issa Shahin said the gunman attempted to “rack the gun slide to resolve the malfunction.”
“At this point the officer recognizes that the suspect poses a lethal threat to not only himself but to others who may be in or around the lobby. Acting on his duty to confront the lethal threat, the officer slides open the glass and fires several rounds at the suspect,” said Shahin.
WXYZ-TV reported that the officer put Naji down with 17 rounds in 4.5 seconds.
When the dead gunman’s stolen weapon was recovered, the safety was off and one round was in the chamber, reported WJBK.
Here is the newly released footage of the incident (warning: graphic):
On March 3, the deceased gunman’s family filed a lawsuit against the City of Dearborn and the officer who prevented Ali Naji from successfully opening fire on officers inside the police station. The suit claims that Ali Naji was “the victim of unlawful deadly force” and demands $10 million in compensatory damages.
The suit alleges that the officer “failed to take any steps to de-escalate and deemed it appropriate to fatally shoot ALI NAJI without any attempt to ascertain the purpose of his presence in the Dearborn Police Station.”
It is unclear from the lawsuit whether the plaintiffs reckon the officer should have waited for Naji to exhaust his ammunition before asking about the purpose of his visit.
The 21-page lawsuit also contends that “as a direct and proximate result of [the officer’s alleged failure to de-escalate the situation], NAJI suffered terror and fear as Defendant DOE fired his weapon multiple times causing his death.”
“Reasonable officers in the position of [the officer] at the time of this incident … would have known, in light of existing law, that the unlawfulness of this action was apparent under the circumstances, would be a violation of clearly established law, and of NAJI’s constitutional rights against unlawful deadly force,” the lawsuit also alleges.
WJBK reported that the family is also suing for assault and battery, gross negligence, violation of the Persons with Disabilities Act, and violation of the Freedom of Information Act.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Thursday that the officer involved in the shooting will not face criminal charges, having acted in self-defense.
Worthy’s office noted, “On the day of the shooting, police and civilians had been in and around the outside of the police station. The officer in the lobby although behind bullet resistant glass was the only person immediately available to confront Mr. Naji. He objectively posed an imminent threat to the officer and any other person who may have entered the public lobby during the incident.”
“It is clear from the facts and evidence in the case that the officer acted in lawful self- defense and defense of others. No charges will issue in this matter and the warrant request is denied,” added the prosecutor’s office.
“We may never know why Mr. Naji walked into the Dearborn Police Department with a loaded weapon attempting to fire it at a police officer. My office will not be issuing charges in this case. Although extremely tragic, this is a clear case where the officer acted in lawful self-defense and in the defense of others,” said Worthy.
Naji’s former attorney Nabih Ayad told WDIV-TV that the dead gunman had previously set a strip mall on fire and assaulted Wayne County Jail staffers.