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"Officer Down"

Assault Weapons and the War on Law Enforcement

Section Three: Selected Incidents of Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty by Assault Weapons, 1998 Through 2001

Date: April 4, 2001

Location: Detroit, Michigan

Assault Weapon: SKS assault rifle

On April 4, 2001, Detroit Police Officer Neil Wells, age 41, was fatally shot during a drug raid at an abandoned apartment house. While on patrol, Wells and his partner received a complaint of drug sales at the building. When the officers arrived, the gunman was waiting in ambush behind a door. Wells was shot twice at close range with an SKS assault rifle. Lamont Smith, age 21, was charged with murder and felony firearm violations. Smith was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 60 to 90 years in prison.

Norman Sinclair, "Gun Owner Sought in Cop's Killing," The Detroit News, April 8, 2001; "Man Given 60-90 Years in Cop Killing," Detroit Free Press, January 16, 2002.


Each weapon shown is representative of the brand or model of assault weapon and is not a picture of the specific weapon used in the shooting described in the narrative.

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  All contents � 2003 Violence Policy Center


The Violence Policy Center is a national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals. The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related death and injury.