GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Quiana Long was a mother of three, an activities director at an assisted living center who was struggling to improve her relationship with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. Madhi Hayes was a spit-and-polish Army Reservist. Greg Woods Jr. was a known gang member with the Bemis Street Boys. David and Vivian Bouwman were a retired couple in their 80s.
Despite their different backgrounds and circumstances, they all met the same tragic fate: they were five of the 11 people shot and killed in the past several weeks.
Their deaths have prompted calls of action from police and community leaders and spurred neighborhood meetings all across the metro area.
Now 24 Hour News 8 is devoting its resources to furthering the discussion.
WOOD TV8 is hosting and broadcasting a live town hall forum, "Beyond the Violence," Thursday, January 31 at 7 p.m.
“We’ve been reporting on a lot of violent crime lately,” said WOOD TV8 News Director Rebecca Sapakie. “We think it is important not to just cover the violence and the aftermath, but to shine a brighter light on the many causes leading to the violence and the positive efforts already happening in our community to prevent it.”
The program will include live interviews with police chiefs, reformed former gang leaders and others affected directly by the recent surge in violence.
"Members of the studio audience , and our viewers will be encouraged to ask questions during the show, and we hope this creates a meaningful and impactful discussion," Sapakie said.
24 Hour News 8's Brian Sterling and Sue Shaw host "Beyond the Violence" Thursday, January 31 at 7 p.m. on WOOD TV8. It will also be streamed live at woodtv.com