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Friends Perplexed by Man's Role in Police Shooting

Friends Perplexed by Man's Role in Police Shooting

Published January 25, 2011

DETROIT – After being arrested on drug charges nearly a decade ago, Lamar Moore told authorities he made a mistake and asked for a second chance "to prove I am worthy."

He got what he asked for, served his probation and largely stayed out of trouble. Until Sunday, when he strode into a Detroit police station with a shotgun and began firing at officers, wounding four before he was shot and killed.

"We're trying to figure out what it was to set him off like that," said Paula Hodges, who was close enough to Moore that he affectionately called her "grandma" even though they had no blood ties.

"We can't even imagine him doing that," Hodges said Monday after a sleepless night and a morning that failed to bring answers about the 38-year-old Army veteran's behavior. "He just wasn't, to me, that kind of person. I have nothing but praise for him."

Chief Ralph Godbee also slept little following the shooting in the 6th precinct lobby, making visits to the wounded officers and a return to the blood-splattered station.

"There's nothing in this that makes sense at all," Godbee said Monday. "The perpetrator's intent was evil."

Godbee noted that a relative of Moore's was scheduled to be sentenced Monday for a double homicide. But how — or if — that ties into the shooting may never be clear.

"It's a no-win situation. For those that are living they have to deal with it," said Hodges, who has been acting as a spokeswoman for Moore's family.

The last time relatives saw him was when he left his sister's house in Detroit around 2:45 p.m. Sunday, she said. Surveillance video shows Moore entering the precinct about 4:20 p.m., then beginning to shoot.

One blast caught a sergeant in the chest area of her bulletproof vest. At least one shot grazed two other officers in their heads. Precinct Commander Brian Davis, who was shot in the lower back, was the most seriously injured.

Through the surprise and mayhem, Davis and other officers fired back. Godbee said he has reviewed video of the shooting and saw the officers' "acts of heroism."

"In a split second their lives changed," Godbee said. "These men and women . . . performed to the standard that they were trained to."

Two of the four officers have been released from the hospital. Davis and Sgt. David Anderson were in stable condition Monday.

Like other precincts in the city, the 6th has no metal detectors at the entrance and visitors are permitted to come in and talk face-to-face with police sitting behind a large desk. Godbee said precinct security will be upgraded to include wand scanners.

Hodges said Moore's family learned that he died either on the way to the hospital or shortly after arriving there.

Despite her love for Moore, Hodges said she can't fault police.

"I feel that the officers did what they had to do," she said. "They may not have wanted to, but they did what they had to do."

Moore had been concerned for months over his younger brother's criminal case, though didn't blame the police for what happened, said Hodges, who identified Moore's brother as Venson Hibbit.

Hibbit pleaded guilty earlier this month to two counts of second-degree murder and one count of assault with intent to commit murder, stemming from a shooting last March at a Detroit auto repair shop. Hibbit was sentenced Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court to 30 to 60 years in prison.

Moore's background contained no felonies until October 2002, when authorities stopped him and two others in two cars traveling along Interstate 40 in Arizona. According to court documents, authorities discovered 115 pounds of marijuana, and the three were indicted on three drug possession and trafficking charges.

Moore pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of attempted possession of marijuana for sale, and was sentenced in February 2003 to three years' probation and sent to back to Michigan to serve it. He completed his probation in 2004, ahead of schedule.

In his pre-sentencing report, Moore said he joined the U.S. Army at 18 in 1990 and was stationed at Fort Bragg, and attended Fayetteville State University. He was honorably discharged in 1992.

Moore told court officials he was going through a rough time, "got caught up in the wrong crowd" and sought a second chance "to prove I am worthy."

The court wrote in the report that the probation sentence should "serve as a reminder of what he could lose should he continue making poor choices."

Hodges would not say what Moore did for a living, or if he was married or had children.

"He always had a smile on his face," said John Sellers, who called Moore a close friend of his family and said he often visited the Sellers' home.

Sellers said police visited his home — the address Moore used to receive his mail — on Sunday night, asking about Moore. While Moore and Sellers' brother, Anthony, were close friends until Anthony Sellers' death from cancer two years ago, Sellers said he last saw Moore during the summer.

"I was telling a friend that (police) must have done something to send him over the edge. If you go into a police station, even with the gun raised, it's like committing suicide."

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Associated Press writer Jeff Karoub contributed to this report.

Written by COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press

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