Preschool victims, 118 shell casings, states of emergency: Gun violence surge grips Michigan cities

Preschool victims, 118 shell casings, states of emergency: Gun violence surge grips Michigan cities

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – As fatal shootings surged this summer, Flint began closing city parks at sundown. In Saginaw, the police chief pleaded for people to put guns down after a rash of violence which included separate shootings that wounded two 4-year-olds. In Grand Rapids, an early morning shootout at Sixth Street Park, downtown along the Grand River, grabbed headlines for the sheer volume of shots fired. Police recovered 118 shell casings from 20 different firearms. Bullets hit vehicles and buildings and pierced the window of a hotel room. Maybe most remarkable: only three of 200 partiers seen fleeing suffered gunshot wounds. In the second summer of COVID-19, calls to defund police have been muted by gunfire with those in neighborhoods most affected asking for more police – even offering driveways or porches for cops to stop, authorities say. The rise in gun violence in Michigan and elsewhere has been blamed in part on the coronavirus pandemic, which created stress and uncertainty about health, jobs and housing. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is pushing for $75 million in federal funds to hire more police officers, increase their pay and cover programs to fight violence. “We need more cops in communities experiencing a rise in gun violence that’s been associated with this pandemic,” Whitmer said recently. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, in response to a mid-July shooting that killed one man and injured three others, said: “This case is representative of the escalating violence that is pummeling our region and America’s most […]

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