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Man police say opened fired inside Southfield PD was a veteran

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By Roop Raj
Fox 2 News Reporter


SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -- "He would nod at you as he passed by," said Harold Moore.  "Maybe he might attempt to say something to you, and he'd go and get his mail and go back to his apartment."

Friends of 64-year-old Harold Joseph Collins are talking about him.  He had a mouth or throat disorder, making it hard for him to speak.  Collins is the man that, according to authorities, walked into the Southfield Police Department on Sunday not saying a word, blankly staring at them.  Police say he tried to fire off a shot.

"The weapon did not discharge at that time.  The officers sought cover and called for assistance," said Southfield Police Chief Eric Hawkins.

We're told Collins was asked to drop the weapon, but didn't, instead firing at officers.

"There was an exchange of gunfire.  One officer was struck in the shoulder.  The suspect was struck multiple times," Hawkins explained.

A 27 year veteran of the department, who doesn't want to be identified, has been released from the hospital after being shot in the shoulder.  Collins was shot dead by officers.  The question, was it suicide by police?

"I won't make a conclusive statement on that, but I will say that based on the behavior of this individual, my opinion and the opinion of the investigating officers is that this person was struggling with some very serious internal issues," Hawkins said.

Collins lived at an apartment complex just about three or four miles away from the Southfield Police Department.  We understand he just came back from the hospital after a month's stay there.

"Even though he couldn't speak, he had a polite gesture about himself," said Shaka Kuanda.  "He had a polite walk about himself.  He carried himself well."

"It's not just sad, it's unfortunate."

The Southfield Police Department is proud of the way this was handled following protocol, but they will review policy again.

"This is an example of how having well-trained and well-equipped officers can prevent a situation from becoming a massive tragedy," said Hawkins.

"He was a veteran... and he served our country," Moore said.  "I think we should just pray for him and just understand that they still have problems and we should pay more attention to that now than we do.  I think the veterans come home and we kind of let them fall to the wayside and we don't give them another thought."

We understand Collins' family is talking to Southfield Police and cooperating with them.

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