Fallen officer's father speaks on son's legacy • Monkeypox in Detroit • Booze at Michigan college sports

The Detroit Police Department is grieving the loss of one of its own after Officer Loren Courts died in the line of duty Wednesday night. The entire city and region is thinking about the Courts family tonight. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Courts' father, Lawrence Courts, is a retired DPD officer. He said it's been an emotional roller coaster the past 24 hours since the moment he heard about his son being shot to grieving his son's loss.

"He was an exceptional police officer, no doubt in my mind," Lawrence said. "I've been following his career, you know, short as it was, and he's done some real positive things in the department in the five years.

"I would just like people to know that he was more than just a police officer. I know sometimes that kind of gets lost in the conversation, but he was even better person.

"He was universally loved by people who met him. You could not be around Loren five minutes and not really enjoy being in his company. He was a non-threatening kind of guy."

FOX 2 heard the same sentiments from people that we've spoken to that used to work with Officer Courts at Costco back in the early 2000s, who said the same thing. They said he had a smile that made people gravitate to him.

Earlier today, Retired Detroit Police Assistant Chief Steve Dolunt and retired officer Cornelius Porter who both worked with Officer Lawrence Courts spoke about the need to rally around the family.

"You put on the uniform, you're not a robot," Dolunt said. "He wasn't just a cop, he was a son, a father, and a husband. And he had two kids and a large family and friends. It's hard. It's devastating for the Courts family. There's a lot of emotions from anger to hurt because you wonder, why are they putting their lives on the line, every day and it appears that so many people don't like them.

"But there's more people that do like them, and that's why you keep going."

"We come together," Porter said in terms of dealing with a DPD loss. "We call each other or we'll come by and see how everybody is doing - or go to the funeral."

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Lawrence Courts said he has been appreciative of the support that he's gotten from his kids, his relatives and people who have been stopping by all day whether it's neighbors, whether it's former coworkers, just people supporting him.

Dolunt spoke about the process moving forward, saying officers are assigned to help the Courts family with needs, then a church is selected for the funeral large enough for everyone to attend the service. Then the group Michigan Concerns for Police Survivors assists with funeral details.

GoFundMe: There is a donation page set up for the family HERE.

The funeral will include members of the police community outside DPD, from the state, region and across the country in attendance, lending their support.

See the latest here

Minute-by-minute breakdown leading up to DPD officer's shooting

Officer Loren Court's fatal shooting happened at 7:41 p.m. Wednesday, about 10 minutes after police arrived at the location of a report of shots being fired in Detroit. Police were first dispatched to the area of Joy Road and Marlowe at 7:30 p.m.

Courts and his partner Amanda Hudgens arrived two minutes later. At 7:39, two more scout cars with four officers arrive at the scene. And at 7:40, the suspect - a 19-year-old - opened fire at police.

The suspect broke out the window of his apartment, fired shots, and then fired shots at Courts and Hudgens, while they were still inside their cars. A minute later, an officer down call went over the radio. 

The suspect then continued approaching police after exiting his home, before he was fatally struck multiple times. Courts was taken to the hospital by responding officers before he was pronounced dead. 

Read more about the moments leading up to the shooting here

2nd case of monkeypox in Detroit

A second Michigan case of monkeypox has been identified in a person from Detroit, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday. It’s not clear whether the second case is linked to the state’s first confirmed case, which was identified last week in Oakland County, spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin told local media.

Both remain under investigation, Sutfin said. Health officials are trying to identify close contacts of the people who have monkeypox and might have been exposed, she said.

"Right now, the information we have suggests that the number of high- and intermediate-risk contacts associated with the two identified cases is small," Sutfin said.

Michigan is one of 34 U.S. states with known cases of the virus. Monkeypox belongs to the same virus family as smallpox, but its symptoms are milder. People usually recover within two to four weeks without needing to be hospitalized, but the disease occasionally is deadly.

– Courtesy of the Associated Press

Bill pushes for booze at college sporting events

New legislation introduced Thursday will allow universities in Michigan to sell alcohol at on-campus sporting events. The bipartisan legislation would lift the state ban and allow university governing boards to apply for liquor licenses to sell alcohol at basketball, football, and hockey games.

"This is a fairness and freedom issue that will allow for a modern, more enjoyable college game-day experience – but it’s also a public health and safety issue," said Filler (R-Clinton County). "Data from universities in other states clearly shows that the number of alcohol-related incidents inside stadiums declines when alcohol sales are allowed. Instead of binge drinking in the parking lot or sneaking alcohol into the stadium, fans can simply purchase a beer in the concourse."

Of the 14 schools in the Big Ten, eight allow alcohol sales at football games. "The data is clear that allowing alcoholic beverages in venues during sporting events lowers the probability of excessive alcohol consumption," said Tate (D-Detroit), who co-sponsored the legislation in the House.

House Bill 6289 and Senate Bill 1125 would allow alcohol to be sold within the public areas of university football, basketball, and hockey stadiums. The legislation would allow sales hours before and after each game. The bills will be sent to the Regulatory Reform committees in both chambers for consideration.

Detroit activists wary of new city water program 

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is offering payment plans to help low-income residents struggling with repairs and water affordability. The plan will give residents who qualify up to 4,500 gallons of water per month at a fixed rate.

The plan uses a three-tier system, based on household income that would determine how much each household would pay if they stay under the threshold. Activists are wary of the plan, arguing they've been left out of the process. 

We the People of Detroit, an advocacy group is calling for more transparency for the city's new Detroit Lifeline Plan. The city says low-income residents would be charged no more than 1.8% of their average monthly income for water service. DWSD also says qualifying homes would have their water bill erased. It also said no resident will face a water shutoff if enrolled.

Income-eligible Detroiters apply through Wayne Metro at 313-386-9727 or waynemetro.org.

See more here

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What else we're watching

  1. Macomb Sheriff deputies say the barricaded gunman who was taken into custody after a standoff with police on July 4 has been charged with 26 counts, including attempted murder and felony firearm. 
  2. Among the many notable statements made during James White's press conference Thursday was his statement regarding the availability of assault weapons for the public. He emphasized it was his personal opinion, but that he believed no resident should have access to them. 
  3. A lavender farm in Michigan has just celebrated its first harvest. The McCormick Farmz in Huron Township grew 900 lavender plants on 34 acres in northern Michigan. Most will be distilled into essential oils. 
  4. Wayne State University is partnering with the county to operate at the Medical Examiner's Office. It's part of a partnership with the county for a five-year period. 
  5. At 7:15 a.m. Friday morning, 99% of the world's population was under some amount of sunlight. It's a phenomenon that only happens once a year - for a single minute.  

Daily Forecast

Friday is going to be in the mid-80s with some possibilities for rain throughout the afternoon and evening. That precedes what is expected to be a near-perfect weekend for weather in Southeast Michigan. 

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shot and killed

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a divisive arch-conservative and one of his nation's most powerful and influential figures, has died after being shot during a campaign speech Friday in western Japan, hospital officials said.

Abe, 67, was shot from behind minutes after he started his speech in Nara. He was airlifted to a hospital for emergency treatment but was not breathing and his heart had stopped. He was later pronounced dead despite emergency treatment that included massive blood transfusions, hospital officials said.

Police arrested the suspected gunman at the scene of an attack that shocked many in Japan, which is one of the world’s safest nations and has some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere.