DETROIT (WJBK) - Authorities have said no charges will be filed in the separate fatal shootings of two people by Dearborn police.
The Wayne County prosecutor issued lengthy statements Wednesday in the deaths of Kevin Matthews a year ago and Janet Wilson last January. Both were killed by Dearborn police, although Matthews was shot in Detroit after a chase on foot and an intense physical struggle.
Prosecutor Kym Worthy says both shootings are cases of police self-defense. She says the decisions are "heart-wrenching for all parties involved."
Worthy says Matthews was killed by a Dearborn officer after breaking free and trying to get control of the officer's gun.
Wilson was shot in her car. The prosecutor says she tried to run down a Dearborn officer after a dispute at Fairlane Mall.
KEVIN MATTHEWS' DEATH
Police say they were first called to Tireman and Greenfield to a disturbance at a gas station on December 23. Matthews was harassing a female employee because he didn't want to pay for an energy drink.
She said he became loud and the two got into a fight. At that point, Matthews was locked inside the store and she called police.
When they arrived, they unlocked the door and he ran off. Police lost track of him until just before 12:30 when an unmarked scout car recognized him as he was walking in the same area.
The officer finished the traffic stop he was conducting at the time and then drove to Whitcomb and crossed into Detroit. He ordered Matthews to stop but he kept running.
The officer chased him northbound on both sides of Whitcomb. Matthews then climbed a fence into the backyard in the 8800 block of Whitcomb. In that backyard is where he was shot and later died.
Five witnessses, evidence, and statement from police shows that Matthews and the officer were engaged in a "intense struggle", Worthy said.
It ended when Matthews pulled the ammunition magazine from the officer's belt, which was next to his gun. The officer was on his back on that point and fired nine shots from his weapon, killing Matthews.
Toxicology results show he had hydrocodone in his system but no other drugs or alcohol.
In the end, the Wayne County Prosecutor found that there was "insufficient evidence" to charge the Dearborn officer with criminal charges, given the facts of the case.
JANET WILSON'S DEATH
Worthy says the dispute started with an employee at a sunglasses store, and security was called. Worthy says Wilson was aggressive towards security and continued to yell at them and other customers as she was leaving the mall.
Mall security eventually called Dearborn police. While they were waiting for police to arrive, Worthy says Wilson began to drive towards the mall security officers' vehicles, trying to hit them.
When police got to the scene, Wilson drove off and police followed after her. She did not pull over, but eventually had to stop due to traffic.
Three police officers approached her car and told her to turn it off. One officer repeatedly pounded on her window, telling her to turn the car off. When traffic cleared, though, Worthy says Wilson drove her car towards an officer whose firearm was drawn and pointed at her.
Worthy says that officer got out of the way of her vehicle and shot three times through the front windshield on the passenger side, and one time through the passenger side car window.
Wilson's car slowed came to an eventual stop and Worthy says officers provided medical aid. Wilson was taken to a local hospital by ambulance where she was pronounced dead. The autopsy determined she died from multiple gunshot wounds, three to the chest and one that entered and exited through her arm.
Statement of Prosecutor Worthy in the Matthews and Wilson Cases:
Prosecutor Worthy said, "Our goal is to make sure that we make just decisions according to the applicable law. These decisions were particularly difficult and heart wrenching for all parties involved, including me. We take our responsibility very seriously and both cases had many issues to investigate. This added significant time to our ability to come to just decisions. We interviewed numerous witnesses, reviewed reports, analyzed all the physical evidence, police training materials, medical records, and consulted with multiple experts. Thoroughness takes time.
"After careful analysis we have concluded that we cannot prove the Matthews case beyond a reasonable doubt because of the laws of self-defense. We also cannot prove the Wilson case beyond a reasonable doubt because of the law of self defense, the law of defense of others and the law regarding apprehension of a fleeing felon."