Man charged for allegedly bought gun used to kill Detroit police officer Loren Courts

A Detroit man was charged after he allegedly purchased a firearm that was later used in the fatal shooting of a Detroit police officer.

Sheldon Avery Thomas, 26, was charged with making a false statement in the acquisition of the firearm. Thomas made a virtual appearance in federal court this afternoon and was ordered temporarily detained pending a detention hearing on Tuesday, July 12. 

Detroit police released a photo of the gun used by the suspect.

According to the criminal complaint filed today, on the evening of July 6, 2022, officers from the Detroit Police Department responded to a call of shots fired in the area of Joy Road and Marlowe Street on the city’s west side. Upon arriving at the scene, an individual, later identified as 19-year-old Ehmani Davis, fired at the responding officers and fatally struck Officer Loren Courts. 

RELATED: Wife of slain DPD officer says last text to him was 'I'm always going to worry about you'

ATF agents conducted a trace of the Romarm/Cigir, Draco, 7.62 caliber pistol Davis possessed during the shooting and learned that on June 7, 2022, Sheldon Avery Thomas purchased the firearm from a gun store in Eastpointe, Michigan.

Davis and Thomas walk out the gun store. (DOJ photo)

A review of records and surveillance video from that day shows that Thomas purchased the Draco firearm and later met with Davis in a nearby parking lot. 

Thomas was taken into custody and was interviewed. After waving his Miranda Rights, he admitted to purchasing a Draco firearm for his friend, according to the criminal complaint.

Thomas and Davis inside Action Impact in Eastpointe.

Thomas also said Davis provided him with the money to purchase the Draco from Action Impact. He then stated he met with Davis after purchasing the Draco firearm and walked to a nearby gas station to give it to him.

 "The tragic death of Officer Courts is one more terrible example of what happens when guns are supplied to those who are prohibited from possessing them. Purchasing a gun for someone who is legally prohibited from possessing it can land you in prison for 10 years," stated U.S. Attorney Ison. "Our office will continue to focus on the drivers of violence, which includes both those who commit violent crimes using firearms and those who help them obtain firearms illegally. This case should serve as a warning to those thinking about straw purchasing firearms – you will face federal charges." 

Detroit police released bodycam photo of the suspect approaching officers with the gun in his hand.

RELATED: Gunman who killed DPD officer accused of shooting at Eastpointe prom party in June

 "As we all grieve the shocking and devastating loss of our hero, Officer Courts, Detroit Police Department (DPD) remains steadfast in its mission to serve and protect," Chief James E. White said. "We will continue to collaborate with our local and federal partners to stop these dangerous individuals from victimizing our community. We sincerely appreciate the efforts and commitment of the ATF and the US Attorney’s Office in this matter." 

Detroit Police Officer Loren Courts

Detroit Police Officer Loren Courts