GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In a step toward healing, Burton Heights neighbors held a “peace” vigil Saturday night after three people were shot and killed in their neighborhood Monday afternoon.
“We are out here today to gather as the community that’s been immediately affected by the most recent violence,” said Katy Hoffman, executive director of the Garfield Neighborhood Association. “We just wanted to show up and support these neighbors.”
On Monday around 11:10 a.m., several calls sent officers to Burton Heights. When police arrived, they found two people dead in the street, just blocks away from each other. They were later identified as 19-year-old Malik Eubanks and 20-year-old Anayia Rodriguez. According to their families, they were boyfriend and girlfriend. Eubanks was found on Horton Avenue SE and Rodriguez was found on Melville Street.
Then, shortly before 4 p.m., 32-year-old Darryl Yarber was also found shot dead on Horton Ave. SE.
“It was too young, too young,” said GRPD Chief Eric Winstrom. “Anayia was too young, Malik was too young, Darryl was too young. We’re not going to put up with that. At all.”
During Saturday night’s vigil, Winstrom gave an update on the investigation.
“We’ve already executed over ten search warrants related to this,” he said. “We’re going to keep it up. I will tell you, I am confident, I am confident in our detectives, and I am confident that we are going to find justice for these family members.”
One of the search warrants was at Flavors Smoke Shop. During the search, police arrested a homicide suspect from Milwaukee, Winstrom said. Police said the business was allegedly buying stolen items from young people across the city and selling drugs.
News 8 asked Chief Winstrom if the search warrant was related to Monday’s string of murders.
“I won’t say it’s completely different because when these three murders happened that day, we immediately had a meeting and said, what is driving violence? Running through theories, looking for motives,” he said. “Whether or not that ties directly to murder is something I am not able to talk about right now, but we are definitely headed in the right direction on this homicide.”
During the vigil, people who live in the area said they are still in shock and on edge.
“I am raising a teenager and another kid myself,” explained Sheena Walls, a Burton Heights resident. “The way I think of it, it could have been my baby or in the middle of the day, what if she would’ve been walking to the store and she got hit?”
Anyone with information is asked to call GRPD at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.