Veteran Detroit police officer Brian Huff didn't stand a chance when he was shot to death by a man hiding inside a suspected drug house shrouded in darkness, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Jason Gibson, who is charged with first-degree murder and assault in the May 3, 2010, shooting, was lying in wait inside the vacant duplex as Huff, his partner and other officers responded to a breaking and entering report from neighbors, Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Thomas Trzcinski said in his opening statement.
Defense attorney Susan Reed took only about a minute for her opening statement, telling the jurors that Trzcinski would not be able to convince them of the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.
Neighbors called 911 before dawn when they heard noises and saw what appeared to be flashlights in two separate rooms in the house, Trzcinski said. After arriving at the duplex, Huff went to one of the front doors while other officers took up positions outside the building.
"Officer Brian Huff is a large person. He will fill up a doorway," Trzcinski told the jury as Huff's widow watched in the courtroom.
Trzcinski said Huff's gun was still holstered when he shouted "Police!" and kicked in the door. There, Gibson was waiting, he said, and "Huff never had a chance."
Huff, 42, a 12-year veteran of the department, was shot twice in the head. One slug tore through his jaw. The other burst into his head and severed the spine, Trzcinski said.
Gibson ran from the rear of the house after Huff was shot. He then shot at other police officers to "save his own skin," Trzcinski said.
Waiting officers shot Gibson in the buttocks and handcuffed him to a fence in the back yard. A .45-caliber used to kill Huff was found at Gibson's feet. Officers also recovered a pound of marijuana.
Four other officers were shot or injured, but they recovered.
Witness testimony began Wednesday and was to continue Thursday before Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway.
Gibson, who also used the alias James Everet, had incidents of past confrontations with police.
He was sentenced to three years of probation in December 2007 for attempting to disarm a police officer and cocaine possession, according to Michigan Department of Corrections records. He didn't show up in April 2008 for a probation appointment and a warrant for his arrest was issued that month.
He also was arrested in November 2009 for carrying a concealed weapon but was released on bond after spending two months in jail. He failed to show up for a March 5, 2010, court hearing on the weapons case. Huff was slain two months later.