Neighbors: Detroit officer shooting suspect may have had alcohol problem

- The suspect killed after critically injuring a Detroit police officer Sunday night had a problem with alcohol according to his friends, and they say he may have been drunk when the shooting happened.

James Edward Ray, 46, was killed when Detroit police returned fire at Oakman Apartments on Joy Road around 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

Police were responding to a domestic violence call when Ray fired at the officers, striking an officer in the forehead. Officials said Monday that the officer's condition has deteriorated.

"(Ray) was not on drugs. I've seen him drinking beer a couple times but he wasn't on drugs or anything," said Ottilie Smith, a neighbor.

Ray lived with his girlfriend in room 25 at the Oakman apartments. Neighbors say they watched him walk downstairs Sunday night when police were beating at the main door where the shooting happened.

"It's just a shame. I didn't expect that from him. He was a good guy but, you know, we all have our troubles. We can't let our troubles over do us and that's what I think it came down to," said Cordell McCall, a friend of Ray's.

Ray was charged with drunk driving in 2000 and has an extensive criminal history of mostly driving violations. In 2007, he was arrested for having outstanding warrants.

Friends say he worked hard, and partied hard. He assembled auto parts at Hollingsworth Logistics Group in Romulus during the day, then drank at night.

"This guy went to work every day. He didn't miss no days, and he worked hard," another neighbor said.

Police say they also found two other firearms, a pistol and a shotgun inside Ray's room.

There was no answer when Fox 2 tried his door, and haven't been able to find his family. Friends say Ray liked to keep to himself.

"I didn't expect that to happen. No one expected that to happen," McCall said.

Neighbors also say another incident took place earlier that day at the apartments, leaving them on edge when police arrived that night.

They say at least three men in masks broke into the property carrying guns, but police cannot confirm.

"Somebody was out there with masks on and they had guns coming in here," Smith said.

Fox 2 also found Ray has had his driver's license suspended since 1991 -- a result of more than 25 violations in years prior.

Hollingsworth Logistics Group released the following statement:

"We are saddened about the alleged involvement of a contract employee at our Romulus facility. This is a tragic situation and our thoughts go out to the police officer, his family and the Detroit Police Department. Many details are unknown at this time. We will work with the authorities as they continue their investigation."

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories