Mentally ill convicted cop killer 'cold-cocked' officer in prison cafeteria

Marquise Cromer, 23, apparently unprovoked, “cold-cocked” an unsuspecting Michigan Department of Corrections officer


Gus Burns
MLive.com, Walker, Mich.

IONIA, MI -- A mentally ill man convicted last year of killing a Detroit policeman has attacked another officer, this time from behind bars.

Marquise Cromer, 23, apparently unprovoked, “cold-cocked” an unsuspecting Michigan Department of Corrections officer while waiting in line at the Ionia Correctional Facility cafeteria Wednesday, April 17, MDOC spokesman Chris Gautz said.

An undated booking photo provided by the Detroit Police Department shows Marquise Cromer. (Detroit Police Department via AP)
An undated booking photo provided by the Detroit Police Department shows Marquise Cromer. (Detroit Police Department via AP)

This is the third time he has assaulted someone behind bars since he began serving his 40- to 77-year sentence for second-degree murder in the shooting death of Detroit Police Officer Kenneth Steil, according to the MDOC.

Cromer repeatedly punched another inmate in an outdoor recreational area at Bellamy Creek Correctional facility in Ionia on March 22, 2018; and on Nov. 25, after enduring several blows initiated by his cellmate at the Saginaw Correctional Facility, Cromer retaliated with a punch so hard he knocked the aggressor to the ground, Gautz said.

He pleaded guilty, but mentally ill to second-degree murder and two counts each of assault with intent to murder and felony firearm in February 2018.

Cromer, who has a long history of psychiatric problems, went on a rampage Sept. 12, 2016, earlier that day shooting his father, Sterling Cromer, in the foot, later blasting a Hamtramck man in the chest during a carjacking and finally opening fire on Steil near Seven Mile and Hayes roads in Detroit.

Struck in the shoulder area, Steil was initially listed in stable condition and was expected to make a full recovery. But while he was preparing to return home to his wife and two sons five days later, Steil unexpectedly collapsed and died short afterward.

The autopsy report, conducted by Wayne County Medical Examiner Dr. Carl Schmidt, indicated Steil’s body shut down due to internal bleeding that occurred after a tube was removed from his body.

MLive previously explored Cromer’s case in a series about the prevalence of mental illness in police-involved killings, and the lack of effective treatment options available to the severely mentally ill.

Months before his fatal encounter with Steil, a Wayne County Jail psychologist recommended Cromer be placed in inpatient psychiatric care. That never happened. He was released due to a lack available beds in a state-run psychiatric center.

Cromer’s father said his son has held animosity for police since 2004, when his half-brother, Makarra Sanders, died in Warren police custody following a drug arrest.

While the death was attributed to complications Sanders suffered after consuming two large rocks of crack cocaine when confronted by police, relatives in a settled wrongful death lawsuit claimed Sanders appeared to have been severely beaten prior to his death, citing autopsy reports.

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©2019 MLive.com, Walker, Mich.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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