GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — One man was killed and eight other people were hurt early Sunday when they were shot at a strip mall along 28th Street in Grand Rapids.
Sunday afternoon, the Grand Rapids Police Department identified the man killed as 21-year-old Juwan Boykin of Grand Rapids.
“I can’t really cope with it. I feel like it’s unreal,” Boykin’s sister, Jhalisa Cage, told 24 Hour News 8 Sunday.
“I just want to say to my brother, ’cause I know he’s going to hear me, I love you,” she continued. “I thank God that you was able to meet my baby, you was able to be around your kids, your family. And I just want you to know that everything that just went down, everything happens for a reason, baby.”
Most of the wounded victims were taken to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital for treatment. Four of them are men aged 20, 27, 29 and 34. The other four are women ages 19 and 24 and two 35-year-olds. Their names were not released. Some had been released as of Sunday afternoon, though others remained in the hospital.
The shooting happened around 3:45 a.m. in the 1800 block of 28th Street SE, east of Kalamazoo Avenue. GRPD says officers were already headed to the strip mall on a call about a large party in one of the spaces when they were told about the shooting. Grand Rapids police said Monday more than 100 people were attending the party when the gunfire started.
“I was inside. I heard shots fired,” said a man who claimed to have been at the party didn’t want to be identified. He was not shot.
“I don’t know what happened. I was just red — I got blood everywhere. I was running. I was just running. I got blood everywhere. Blood. Dang, that’s a lot of blood,” he continued, showing 24 Hour News 8 spatter on his clothes.
Police say that shots were fired from both inside the party and outside from 28th Street. The man who was at the party couldn’t say for sure exactly how many there were.
“A lot of them. There were a lot of gunshots,” he said.
“We’re currently trying to figure out exactly what took place,” GRPD Sgt. Terry Dixon said Sunday morning. “We’re very early on into this incident.”
The sign on the building where the shooting happened reads “Clearance Outlet.” Police say there is no merchandise inside and it looks more like a party hall. The owner of the building, Fred Yaya, said the store has been closed for more than a year and that he has been using it for storage. He said he allowed an employee to use the space for his birthday party.
“It’s very sad. People supposed to be at a birthday party and they’re enjoying themselves,” Yaya said. “I’m shaking right now. It’s not a pleasant situation and it is very, very, very sad.”
He said this was the first time he had allowed someone to use the space for a social event.
Police have not released any information on who they believe is responsible. No one was in custody Sunday afternoon.
A source with GRPD told 24 Hour News 8 that the shooting was related to a previous shooting hours before outside Stray Cat Nightclub in Muskegon Heights.
The party-goer 24 Hour News 8 spoke to said he was at that club before he went to Grand Rapids for the party at the strip mall.
“They told me it was shut down when I got there,” he said.
The Muskegon Heights police chief confirmed to 24 Hour News 8 Sunday afternoon that shots had been fired outside Stray Cat Nightclub. He said no one was injured. He said the incidents were not connected.
The property owners said there are security cameras that may have captured images of the shooter or shooters. Police were reviewing those and talking to witnesses Sunday.
Grand Rapids police asked anyone with information about the shooting to call them at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.
Boykin’s family is asking for financial help for his funeral. You can donate through a GoFundMe page set up in his name.
–24 Hour News 8’s Sarah Hurwitz contributed to this report.