Dearborn Police release footage of fatal lobby shooting of armed man

Family says Naji had a history of mental illness
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Posted at 4:27 PM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-16 17:16:13-04

This security footage, just released, shows the last moments of 33-year-old Ali Naji's life.

In it you can see Naji walk into the Dearborn Police Department lobby, an officer says "How are you doing?"

According to the Dearborn Police Chief Issa Shahin the following then happens:

"The suspect immediately pulls out a gun, aims it at the officer and pulls the trigger. After pulling the trigger, the subject experiences a malfunction of the firearm, he checks, the weapon, removes the magazines, puts it back in the gun and attempts to rack the gun slide to resolve the malfunction. The officer yells ‘gun’ several times to alert fellow officers inside the station. At this point the officer recognizes that the suspect poses a lethal threat to not only himself but to others who may be in or around the lobby. Acting on his duty to confront the lethal threat, the officer slides open the glass and fires several rounds at the suspect."

The officer fired 17 rounds at Naji in 4.5 seconds, killing him.

We reached out to Chief Shahin with a request to interview about the force used, but the police department declined and instead offered this pre-recorded video due to "pending litigation."

Ali Naji
An undated courtesy photo of Ali Naji.

The family of the Dearborn man is suing the City of Dearborn for $10,000,000 citing wrongful death and loss of companionship among the many reasons for the lawsuit.

Their attorney, Cyril Hall of Hall Makled Law Firm in Dearborn told 7 Action News, "They had to make a conscious decision as to whether or not they were gonna open the window and discharge and they made that conscious decision to open the window and they shot him about 17 times."

Naji is survived by a father, mother, and a pregnant wife who declined to interview, but whose attorney told me they believe there's no real proof Naji attempted to fire at officers, and police could have used de-escalation methods to save Naji's life.

"You hear an officer in the video saying ‘gun gun gun’ well do you hear him say ‘put it down, put it down?’" said Hall.

In the lawsuit, it says Naji dealt with mental health illness for which he received treatment.

He had two prior contacts with police, neither of which were criminal.

"Individuals do sometimes do things to commit suicide and they commit suicide by having police or someone else kill them," said Hall.

Video from police shows Naji stealing the gun used from a barber shop he used to work at 10 minutes before the shooting.

When it was recovered, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office says the safety was off and there was one round in the chamber.

They will not be issuing any charges and say the police officer acted in self defense.

"In doing so, the officer acted in accordance with department training and guidelines in confronting lethal threats," said Chief Shahin.

Hall said, "Now there’s been other individuals that have come in that police station with arms drawn and they didn’t get killed."

Hall is referring to this incident in 2017 where two open carry activists walked into the Dearborn Police Department armed with guns.

De-escalation efforts were used and no one died.