US judge, wife describe his shooting outside Detroit home

Judge Terrence Berg
In this March 7, 2015 photo, Anita Sevier, the wife of U.S. District Judge Terrence Berg poses at home with their dog Rusty on Oak Drive in Detroit. (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Romain Blanquart)

DETROIT (AP) — A federal judge who was shot as he retrieved a trash can at his Detroit home said the attack shows the city at its best and its worst.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Berg, 55, was shot in the leg Thursday night when two would-be robbers accosted him as he retrieved a trash container. He remains hospitalized and awaits surgery on his injured leg Monday.

The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction. No arrests were made. The suspects fled in a dark sedan, possibly a Dodge Charger.

In an interview from his bed at Sinai Grace Hospital, Berg told the Detroit Free Press that he was at the top of his porch when two young men came up behind him.

“I’m not trying to harm you. We just want to go inside your house,” Berg quoted one man as saying. “I have a gun.”

Berg’s wife, Anita Sevier, and teenage son, Teddy Berger, were inside.

“No, no, no,” Berg said he told the attacker as the man pulled out a semi-automatic pistol from inside his jacket. “As soon as I raise my voice, he shoots me. Bam!”

Berg said the attackers then ran off. Investigators say they don’t believe the attack was related to Berg’s work.

“I thought, ‘This is the end of it. He shot me in the knee. I’m going to be OK. It’s over,'” the judge said.

Sevier said she heard her husband shout, “I’ve been shot.” She said she resisted the impulse to chase the fleeing men as she has done in previous encounters with criminals and instead yelled a curse after them, then set about tending to her husband.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tamar Jeffery, an emergency room-trained physician and neighbor, arrived “running full blast,” Berg said. She slipped and fell, partly landing on the judge, then directed Berg’s son to get a belt for a tourniquet and scissors to cut off the pant leg.

Another neighbor and a passer-by also came to Berg’s aid before Detroit police arrived and rushed him to the hospital.

“This really is the story of Detroit,” the judge said. “You have one guy who shoots another guy on a front porch. And then another guy we don’t know stops to see how he can help. It doesn’t mean Detroit’s safe. But it’s part of what Detroit is — very, very good people and some not-so-good.”

Berg, an avid runner, is months away from resuming his daily walks with the family dog.

“I don’t think I’ll be too worried,” he said. “But I’ll probably be a little more conscious of my surroundings after this.”

President Barack Obama appointed Berg in 2012. Before that, Berg served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

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