13 people shot, one dead, in two days of violence in Grand Rapids
Thirteen people were shot in six separate shootings in Grand Rapids, MI over the weekend.
“In Grand Rapids, seven of the 11 victims were shot in a gunfire exchange at a hookah lounge early Sunday morning, police spokesman Raul Alvarez confirmed to CNN. Roughly 20 rounds were fired at the scene, and the shooting victims have not cooperated with police, according to the release,” says CNN.
On Friday night, two victims arrived at the emergency room of a local hospital after being shot while attending a vigil for a murder victim.
“Video obtained by FOX17 from a neighbor shows a gray SUV driving down the street and firing five shots. At least two people can be seen outside. Both of them ran away as the car approached them,” says local Fox affiliate 17.
“The second shooting happened around 3:22 p.m. along 1000 Adams St. near Kalamazoo Avenue. When police arrived, they found two victims, both men. Police say one man died while the other is in critical condition undergoing surgery at a nearby hospital.”
The death marks the 23rd homicide in Grand Rapids in 2020, after 17 killings in 2019 and nine murders in 2018. Of the 17 victims in 2019, 13 were Black.
The 2020 violence has left the community “shaken” according to MLive.
“It’s senseless,” said Police Chief Eric Payne in July. “It’s ridiculous that this is occurring. We need to work together.”
More important than so-called police reform, says one local pastor, is the reformation of individuals in the community who are causing the violence.
“We absolutely need to have a dialogue about police reform,” said the Rev. Jerry Bishop, the founder and pastor at LifeQuest Ministries on the city’s Southeast Side according to MLive. “But probably more important than that is a dialogue that needs to happen on personal conduct reform.”
The chief blamed illegal guns and COVID lockdowns for the violence. COVID lockdowns have reduced the amount of community engagement due to social distancing guidelines, leaving people feeling isolated and using guns as an outlet for that frustration.
“I will continue working with our community on increased efforts to do whatever we can to get at the root causes of this violence,” said Payne.”But we need to do this together. This must include ongoing dialogue, including more cooperation from the public to help us solve these crimes.”
The residents of the city are reticent with police after shootings, making it difficult for police to solve gun crimes.
The website, Silent Observer, has started a billboard campaign with the faces of victims to ask residents for information about murders with a grant from the U.S. Attorney’s office.
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