6 months after murder, mom calls on witnesses to ‘speak up’

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Every month on the 16th, you’ll find Taneka McIntosh at her son’s grave. This month’s visit was especially painful.

“Today marks six months,” McIntosh said Friday. “It’s hurtful. It’s painful. The pain is indescribable.”

Taneka McIntosh visits the grave of her son Deon Floyd, who was shot and killed on Oct. 16, 2020, on the six-month anniversary of his death. (April 16, 2021)

Deon Floyd was just 23 years old when he was shot and killed outside a Grand Rapids home on Oct. 16, 2020.

He and his mother were visiting family on Watkins Street SE near Henry Avenue and Floyd was having a conversation when someone shot at the house, hitting Floyd. He was rushed to the hospital but didn’t survive emergency surgery.

McIntosh said the shot was not meant for her son.

“Wrong place, wrong time. He had no enemies. He never did nothing wrong. He never went to jail,” McIntosh said. “All he liked to do was play games, video games. He was not a violent person.”

Floyd’s death was one of 38 homicides in Grand Rapids during 2020 — a record high for the city. He left behind a 3-year-old son and a daughter he’ll never know, born a month after his death.

An undated courtesy photo of Deon Floyd.

“My grandson runs around here talking about he misses his dad. Do you know how much pain that causes?” McIntosh said.

But along with the heartache, McIntosh feels frustrated. Someone knows something, but they’re not talking. Even a Silent Observer billboard and the promise of a reward has yet to bring any substantial leads.

It’s a chronic problem for the Grand Rapids Police Department, as well. GRPD says the murder is still an active case, but a number of people who may have information about the killing have refused to talk to investigators.

That code of silence has been part of the reason 12 of the 38 homicides, including Floyd’s, haven’t been solved.

“Somebody please speak up, say something. Come forward if you’ve got some information. Call Silent Observer. Anything,” McIntosh said.

Her plea is one Silent Observer Executive Director Chris Cameron has heard often from victims’ loved ones.

“It’s a terrible club to live in, to be a victim of crime,” he said.

On April 22, Silent Observer will hold its annual candlelight vigil. It is reaching out to victims and their families to attend as a way honor victims and raise awareness.

“I think if the public is aware and they can visualize it, it will be overwhelming to them,” Cameron said.

McIntosh will be there. She hopes the vigil sends another message:

“Speak up. That’s not snitching,” she said. “You’re not being a coward. An innocent person’s life got taken here.”

Anyone with information about Floyd’s death or any other crime in Grand Rapids can call GRPD at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

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