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Off-duty Mich. corrections deputy shot, killed in Detroit

Wayne County corrections officer Devante Jones was killed just hours after finishing his shift

Devante Jones

Devante Jones, center, joined the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office in 2019.

Wayne County Sheriff’s Office

By Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

DETROIT — Police are investigating the fatal Monday shooting of an off-duty Wayne County corrections officer who was killed just hours after finishing his shift, the sheriff’s office said.

Devante Jones, 23, was shot several times after dropping someone off in the area of East Forest and Chrysler Service Drive in Detroit, according to authorities.

The investigation is ongoing and is being conducted by Detroit Police alongside the sheriff’s department.

Jones fled the vehicle, trying to escape the gunfire, but was found and privately conveyed to Detroit Receiving Hospital.

He had been shot multiple times and he died of his injuries around 4:50 a.m., the sheriff’s office said.

Jones joined the department in October 2019 and worked in Jail Division I, officials said.

Wayne County Undersheriff Mike Jaafar convened a Monday news conference to discuss Jones’ death alongside department command staff and a captain who had trained Jones.

“We’re all fathers,” Jaafar said. “As a parent we can all relate to that loss.”

“I didn’t know the officer personally, but in our line of work you don’t really have to,” Jaafar added. “We are a family, and when this happens to one it happens to all.”

Capt. Reid Chakrabarty, who had trained Jones to be a deputy, described him as consistent and eager to work overtime — a valued trait when there are 200 job openings at the jail, forcing deputies to work regular double shifts.

Jones was just six hours from the end of his last jail shift before he was killed. He got off at 11 p.m., Jaafar said.

The person he dropped off was not a deputy sheriff. The timeline between Jones leaving work at 11 p.m. and his death just before 5 a.m. is unclear, Jaafar added.

Earlier Monday, Sheriff Raphael Washington issued a statement extended condolences and prayers to Jones’ family.

“This resonates with all of us on the job,” Washington said. “We’re going to do all we can find out what happened.”

Jaafar noted Washington is at a “policy conference” this week, but that he had talked with Jones’s mother on the phone.

“They had a long conversation,” Jaafar said.

Jones’ death marks the latest tragic loss for the department in recent years.

In August 2018, Sgt. Lee Smith, a deputy Wayne County sheriff weeks from retirement, was killed off-duty in a hit-and-run in Westland.

The late Benny Napoleon, then Wayne County Sheriff, said “30 to 40 people” from the sheriff’s office and Westland police ran down tips and scoured “hours and hours” of surveillance video, from dozens of locations before an arrest was made.

“It will absolutely be a similar thing now,” Jaafar said. “It’s all hands on deck.”

Jaafar said there are no early indications the shooting is connected to Jones’s work at the jail, but also said it was early on, and that Detroit’s police department is leading the investigation.

“Detroit has a phenomenal homicide crew,” Jaafar said. “They know what they’re doing. We’re pretty confident we’re going to get the shooter.”

Jaafar said Jones had one child and another on the way.

“It’s an absolute tragedy,” Jaafar said.

Reginald Crawford, president of the Wayne County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, said union leaders were present at morning shift roll call and will return for the afternoon shift. Jones worked afternoons.

Resources are available for deputies who need to talk to someone about the loss, Crawford said.

Crawford also noted how much loss the sheriff’s office has suffered in recent years.

The sheriff’s office lost a jail commander, Donifay Collins, and Sheriff Napoleon to COVID-19. Deadline Detroit reported that two doctors at the jail also died of COVID-19.

Cpl. Bryant Searcy was killed in an attack at the division two jail in Sept. 2020.

“Circumstances have run the gamut,” Crawford said. “We’ve lost members to COVID, hit-and-runs, murders, at the jail, and off work.”

Anyone with any information about the shooting should call the Detroit Police Department’s Homicide unit at (313) 596-2260 or the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office at (313) 833-0864.

(c)2021 The Detroit News