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Former Detroit Officer Shoots, Kills Armed Robber

Former Detroit Officer Shoots, Kills Armed Robber

Matthew Zani was terminated from the Detroit police

Detroit Free Press via YellowBrix

November 18, 2010

DETROIT – A former Detroit police officer — who was acquitted in 2004 of federal civil rights violations — shot and killed a man on Detroit’s east side Wednesday morning during a robbery near his home, police said.

Matthew Zani was questioned by investigators about the shooting, his lawyer Frank Eaman said Wednesday.

The incident, which happened about 1:10 a.m. near Grayton and Southampton, is under investigation, and no charges have been filed.

Eaman, who said he spoke briefly with Zani Wednesday morning, said Zani was released pending information on the case being sent to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

Detroit police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens — who did not confirm the identity of the former cop — said two men, one armed with a gun, robbed the former officer at gunpoint.

As one of the suspects fled, police said, he fired shots and the former officer returned fire, killing the man. The dead man was identified by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office as Prez Holmes, 20, of Detroit. Michigan Department of Corrections records indicate his first name may be spelled “Perrez,” and that he may have a criminal history of felony firearm and receiving and concealing stolen property.

The second male suspect escaped in a Chevrolet Impala, Stephens said.

Witnesses said they heard 15-20 gunshots.

Ishmael Roberson said the shooting occurred outside his corner home and involved his neighbor, whom he knows only as an ex-cop. Roberson said he was in bed when he heard shots, sprang up and ran to look out his bathroom window to see what was happening.

Roberson said he saw sparks from his neighbor’s gun, heard three shots and saw the other man falling to the ground. The former officer was shooting from 3-5 feet away from the person who died, he said.

He said he then watched his neighbor shoot about four times in the direction of the fleeing car.

Once the gunfire stopped, Roberson said, he ran outside and was told by his neighbor: “Go back in the house. They still might be out here.”

Eaman said Zani “completely cooperated with the investigation.”

Zani was terminated from the Detroit Police Department, Eaman said. Zani was one of 17 officers indicted in 2003 on charges they violated the rights of accused drug dealers, prostitutes and pimps.

He was acquitted by a jury in 2004.

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