GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) - A gunman targeting motorists in southeast and mid-Michigan is changing travel plans for a handful of West Michigan high school marching bands.
"It's mind-boggling when you think that you have to think of those things, that between Point A and Point B there's a danger, and that's the society that we live in," said Grandville High School Principal Randy Morris.
Grandville High School is among at least five marching bands headed to Ford Field in Detroit on Saturday for a state competition. The others include Comstock Park, Godwin Heights, Byron Center and Northview.
All are planning to take different routes, hoping to avoid the gunman.
A gunman has struck 24 vehicles in two weeks, including three on I-96 between Lansing and Wixom. The rest were on roads not far away. One motorist, a Delton man, was shot in the buttocks on I-96 on Saturday near the Fowlerville exit in Livingston County.
Police have recommended motorists not change their travel plans.
"You're probably going to have a better chance of getting in an accident than you would getting shot if you drove down there today," Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday. "I would tell people to stay alert if you're going to travel that corridor. If you see something suspicious, let us know."
State officials say it appears, at least anecdotally, that fewer cars have been using I-96 since the shooting spree began, though there's no official count. Up to 125,000 vehicles usually traverse that portion of I-96 each day.
Local school leaders say they don't want to take a chance, so they'll take a different route, adding about 17 miles to the trip.
"The worry is just the safety for our students," Morris said. "If these shootings are random, then a big yellow school bus going down the expressway could be a target."
Those buses will carry a total of about 180 Grandville marching band members. That's not to mention the parents driving behind them.
"You get all these buses going that way, they're big targets," said Byron Center Public Schools Superintendent Dan Takens. "When someone was actually hit, we looked at taking an alternative route. We'll literally have hundreds of parents and kids following them down there. Why not take a different way?"
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