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Motive behind Michigan police station shooting unclear

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — Police are investigating what prompted a 64-year-old military veteran to stride into a suburban Detroit police station then open fire on officers, leading to an exchange of gunfire and his own death, authorities said Monday.

Officers fatally shot Harold Joseph Collins in the Sunday afternoon incident in the lobby of the police headquarters in Southfield, and a 50-year-old sergeant was hurt in the exchange of fire.

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A preliminary investigation indicates Collins had medical problems, but it is not clear if that had any bearing on his actions, Southfield Police Chief Eric Hawkins said. He did not specify the nature of Collins’s health issues.

‘‘Based on the behavior of this individual, my opinion, and the opinion of the investigating officers, is that this person was struggling with some very serious internal issues,’’ Hawkins said.

Collins walked into the building about 2:20 p.m. Sunday and used a .380-caliber handgun to confront an officer seated behind bulletproof glass.

‘‘What’s so unusual about this situation is that . . . there were no words, whatsoever,’’ Hawkins said. ‘‘The suspect approached the front desk officer and simply stared at the officer. I was told that the suspect appeared to be staring into the distance and not a word was said.’’

That officer sought cover and called for assistance. Other officers arrived from other parts of the building and ordered Collins to drop the weapon. Collins refused and gunfire was exchanged.

Collins later died at an area hospital.

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